Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Keep things hot and spicy this Winter!

spaghetti-with-spicy-sausage-marinara

Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Yield: Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound spicy Italian pork sausage

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

12 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (¼ cup)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped finely

1 dried bay leaf

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

¾ pound spaghetti

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

For the pasta, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.

Add the olive oil, sausage, and onions to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.

Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes more.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, reducing the heat to low and stirring more often as the sauce thickens.

Once thick, remove the bay leaf and, season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the pasta, once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Stir the penne into the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). Drain (do not rinse), reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Toss pasta with spicy marinara sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.

Divide onto plates and top with the freshly grated cheese and parsley.

Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

It’s just not summer without fresh homemade pesto. Here’s my recipe paired with pasta and sun dried tomatoes. Grazie.

Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings

 

For the Pesto

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

 

For the pasta

¾ pound fusili pasta

2 tablespoons kosher salt

¼ cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped roughly

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (stacked, rolled and sliced thinly)

 

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.

Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Stir the fusili into the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

Drain (do not rinse) the fusili, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.

Toss with 1/2 cup of pesto, sundried tomatoes and some of the reserved pasta water if needed (to loosen the pesto). Add additional pesto if needed.

Divide onto plates and top with pine nuts and fresh basil.

 

Week of recipes in review: asparagus, chocolate, cherries and strawberries

Just in case you missed last week’s recipes and/or are trying to plan your weekend menu and shopping list, don’t forget about these goodies which I posted on my blog last week.

 

Recipes in Review June 16 Week

Strawberry Kale Salad (top left)

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis (top right)

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta (bottom right)

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus

Seeing the first stalks of asparagus at the farmers market means Spring has sprung… and when they start to thin out, it means Summer is on its way. Asparagus is nearly all but gone in Southern California, but I managed to get my hands on some the other day and made this delicious and very quick dinner dish. Here’s to another day of Spring!

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small shallot, diced small, 2 tablespoons

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to seasoning

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

½ pound angel hair pasta

½ pound asparagus, bottom of stems trimmed, stalks sliced into1/8-inch rounds, tips kept whole

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta, drained *

 

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt.

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). 30 seconds before pasta is finished, add asparagus to the pot.

After 30 seconds drain the pasta and asparagus, without rinsing, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.

Return pasta and asparagus to the pot and add the olive oil, parsley and contents of the small bowl. Mix to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta, if needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice.

Divide onto plates and top with a dollop of ricotta. Finish the dish with a touch of freshly ground black pepper (over the ricotta) and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

* Have you tried Angelo and Franco ricotta? It is made in downtown LA (they sell it at Whole Foods in Los Angeles). If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it – it’s creamy, thick and the taste is pure heaven!