It’s sausage season (that’s January and February to the uninitiated) and there’s always a few sausages that break and really should be used immediately. And really no one minds, because no matter how you prepare it, fresh ingredients taste great. Here’s what we had this week: it’s quick, easy, and makes you wish there were more left overs (this recipe should feed four).
Pasta with beans and sausage / Pasta con fagioli e salsiccia
2 cups dry pasta (penne work best, but that’s just my opinion)
1 fresh sausage link (7 oz of ground pork meat, cured with salt, hot peppers and red pepper paste)
1 medium potato
1 medium onion
6 oz romano beans
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
The recipe will go very quickly once all the vegetables are cut and prepared. Put a large pot of water on to boil. In the meantime, cut potato into 1/2 inch squares; dice onion; remove sausage meat from its’ casing and break it into small pieces by hand. The ingredients are then cooked in two separate processes (at the same time) and mixed together to create a great tasting dish.
Salt the water once it comes to a boil and put in romano beans (these take the longest to cook). Once you have put the beans to boil, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and begin to sautee the onions. After five minutes, add the pasta and potatoes to the boiling water and allow to cook for the time on the pasta packaging (usually 10-13 minutes). The onions should also be softened by that time, so add the sausage meat to the frying pan and cook until gold brown, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon to ensure the meat cooks in small pieces.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain the mixture (with potatoes and beans) reserving a cup of pasta water for use if needed. Return the pasta to the pot and mix in sausage and onions. (Alternatively, you could also add the pasta and vegetables directly to the frying pan.) Mix well. Add pasta water and 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to ensure the pasta is well seasoned with all the flavours.
Dish out, cover in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to your liking. This is a quick and rustic dish that I’ve had in many variations with my parents and grandparents over the years. It uses ingredients that you’d have on hand in the winter, and it is, really, my comfort food.