Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pasta with White Wine, Sausage & Tomato Sauce

Skip the jarred pasta sauce and hamburger combo. This recipe for spaghetti rigati with a tomato-sausage and white wine sauce bursts with flavor that's much better than the old grocery store standard.

The key is using good Italian sausage such as the freshly made offerings you find at Aurora's Prisco's Fine Foods. The best type for this recipe is the bulk Italian sausage made without fennel. Many specialty stores like Prisco's offer the option to buy the sausage with or without fennel.

Another essential ingredient to this recipe is using high-quality tomatoes, even though it calls for jarred or canned varieties. San Marzano tomatoes are readily available at the grocery store, even though you may have to look past many domestic offerings to find them. They are imported from Italy and have the most flavor of the canned tomatoes you will find. Spaghetti Rigati is the best for this recipe because the sauce clings to the tiny ridges on each strand. Barilla offers a version that is easy to find at most stores.

Here is the recipe for Spaghetti Rigati with Sausage Red Sauce


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (preferably without fennel)
  • 1 jar of pureed San Marzano Tomatoes 700 g (or equivalent canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil (or dried basil to taste)
  • 1 pound box of Barilla Spaghetti Rigati
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Combine white wine with the sausage in a medium size bowl and work the wine into the sausage with your hands. This helps break up the sausage and give it a nice texture for the sauce, as well as add flavor. Add it to a hot pan and cook the sausage until nearly browned. Use a paper towel to dab up any extra grease from the sausage that you may not want in the sauce. Leaving some fat in the pan is good for the flavor. Add the olive oil and chopped garlic and cook just a couple of minutes more until the garlic is golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the 700g jar of pureed tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta and make sure it a nice al dente texture. Rinse all the tomatoes out of the jar with a little bit of the cooking pasta water and add to the sauce. Near the end of the simmering process, add the chopped basil leaves. More or less can be used to taste. When the pasta is cooked, add part of the sauce to the pasta in the pan. Stir over medium heat to coat the pasta and influse flavor. Serve with dollops of extra sauce and grated cheese.

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