I’m calling this pasta dish my favorite, because I’ve made it for company a few times – maybe even five times. And being that I rarely make the same thing twice, that’s saying something. I love this pasta. And made slightly in advance with lots of sauce for the pasta to soak up, it’s a delicious, hearty meal that everyone has always loved.
It could be said that one doesn’t need a book on pasta to cook pasta. I mean, add garlic, fresh tomatoes, basil to pasta, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. Add some Italian sausage and Parmesan to it and it gets even better. No recipe required.
But then, one could say that about a lot of different kinds of cooking. Especially everyday cooking, because often the recipes are created based on what you just picked up at the grocery store and what’s in your pantry.
But I have many Italian cookbooks, and I have some Italian pasta cookbooks as well. It’s the only way to discover traditional recipes.
One of my favorite Italian cookbook authors is Giuliano Bugialli. And this pasta comes from his cookbook, Bugialli on Pasta, published in 1988. He’s especially funny to me because he abhors Americans who put cheese on all forms of pasta. He gets quite indignant about it, in fact.
Fortunately, he has never visited me in my kitchen to see what I do and don’t do with pasta, because although I love his recipe, I’ve also adapted it. And, I put cheese on it. The original recipe in the book is called Malloreddus alla Campidanese, or Sardinian Pasta with Sausages.
This is a photograph of his actual recipe using the “correct” pasta called malloreddus. I will probably never come across malloreddus, but if I did, I would not want to buy it. It looks like large maggots to me.
This is the pasta I chose for this dish. I’ve used it often, although I’m pretty sure it’s also called radiatore pasta. Nonetheless, I love that it has lots of ruffles so that it can hold a lot of sauce.
So here is my adaptation of Mr. Bugialli’s recipe.
Pasta Alla Campidanese
Pasta with Sausages
12 ounces pasta of choice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 26.46 carton (Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon pesto (the kind I make contains no cheese)
2 teaspoons dried basil (during winter months)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cream
Freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (during summer months)
Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.
Then pour everything into a large colander. Rinse the pasta slightly, if necessary.
Pour the olive oil in the same pot that you used to cook the pasta. Heat it over medium high heat, then add the sausage.
Cook until well browned, then remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place the sausage in a bowl.
Turn down the heat slightly, then add the onion to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 10 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Give everything a stir, and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly. You don’t want to reduce too much; you want extra sauce so the noodles can absorb it.
Then add pesto, salt, saffron, and dried basil, if using. Stir well.
Stir it in, then add the sausage to the sauce.
Cook for a few minutes, then add the cream.
Then add the pasta. Stir well but gently to combine. Serve hot, topped with grated parmesan and fresh basil, if available.