It could be said that one doesn’t need a book on pasta to cook pasta. I mean, start with garlic, add fresh tomatoes and 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, as well as pasta cookbooks, and it’s the only way to discover traditional recipes and unique ingredients.
One of my favorite Italian cookbook authors is Giuliano Bugialli. And this pasta recipe 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 serve it with cheese. 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’ve always thought that this pasta shape looks like maggots! But I finally got my hands on some so that’s what I’m using!
This is Malloreddus.
If you can’t find malloreddus, or find them too maggotty, use any ruffly pasta shape like radiatore or trumpets.
So here is my slight 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
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.
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. Use fairly large pieces; you don’t want it to look like ground 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 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.
In reality, pasta puttanesca is my personal favorite, but it’s not for everybody. This recipe with Italian sausage and the red sauce is more generally enjoyed by everyone.
I like to prepare the pasta about an hour before serving, so the pasta has a chance to soak up the lovely sauce.
This pasta reheats pretty well, but you might have to add some broth or more cream and heat on the stove gently and slowly.
Besides the Parmesan, it’s really good topped with cayenne chile pepper flakes.