Here’s our favorite easy weeknight supper courtesy of Rachael Ray, with my own modifications because seriously, peas? People seem to have strong opinions about her, and some of her recipes are absolute stinkers (Leeky Chicken comes to mind), but I’ve served this to queens and commoners alike and it never fails to please. The above pic was taken after the Husband and I hit it pretty hard.
Gather the following:
- 1.5 pounds, or thereabouts, bulk Italian Sausage (I always use Mendolia’s as Marsh’s Unfresh stocks it regularly)
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2-5 cloves garlic, peeled & minced (we like lots, some folks don’t)
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil (I tend to go with 4, but it can be done with less)
- red chile flakes (to taste)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (or white wine, or red wine)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 2 good-sized pots (I use a 6qt saute pan for the sauce & an 8qt stockpot for the pasta)
- lots of good, fresh Parmigiano
Set pasta water to boil. Heat another large pan or skillet and begin mincing garlic. When skillet is hot, add olive oil. Tear off chunks of bulk sausage and drop in hot oil. Resist urge to stir as you want the sausage to get golden brown before moving it around. Once sausage is good and brown, give it a stir and cook through.
Shove sausage to one side and add minced garlic to oil. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Let garlic and pepper flakes cook in the oil a bit until garlic is fragrant and pepper flakes begin to give their little spot of oil a red color. Stir sausage back from its side of the pan and mix. Add chicken broth (or wine) to deglaze pan. Add tomatoes and bring to simmer.
At this point, hopefully your pasta water is boiling, so add a couple tbsp of salt to the water and put your pasta in. Cook according to pkg instructions. Switch back to the sauce and add the cream or milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper and leave on a low simmer until pasta is ready. Chop your basil. When pasta’s just about ready, add basil to sauce. Drain pasta (I use a Chinese spider to lift it out of the water and dump it in the sauce; one less big dish to wash) and add to sauce. Stir all together, turn off heat and add several big handfuls of cheese. Stir again and serve.
This makes 4 ample or 6 smaller servings. I like to serve with a Romaine salad and garlic bread (butter baguette slices, toast under broiler and rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove before serving).
After dinner, it’s best to assume the “blissfully full tummy” pose as demonstrated by the Doo: