For a pasta freak like myself, this is one of the easiest (and moist economical) dishes to prepare. And it’s quick and delicious. Think of the nerdy Sheldon on the comedy series The Big Bang, where he always rhapsodizes about his mom’s real “Eyetalian” spaghetti and franks dinner. In our family this is the equivalent.
For this preparation, any pasta can be used, whether string, round, oval or shells. In terms of types, I’ve always preferred what I call the the “hardy” ones, or as my Uncle Philip use to say, the “manly-man pastas.” By that I mean fettuccine, cannelloni, and my favorite, perciatelli. No angel hair for me. For this rendering we used rigatoni.
For the sausage in the dish, you can used mild or hot sausage links, meat sausage, pork sausage, or even, Spanish chorizo. If you’re more health conscious, you can use chicken or turkey sausage. Back in Spanish Harlem, during our lean days, we used canned Vienna sausage. You’re only limited by your imagination; which by now should be boundless. With a good Chianti (or whatever wine you prefer), and some crusty bread, it’s a poor guy’s banquet.
PASTA WITH SAUSAGE
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 ½ pounds preferred sausage (see above), cut into ½-inch rounds
1 pound package rigatoni
1 medium onion, sliced thin ( I prefer a red onion, but can use other)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 jar (26-oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pan (I prefer cast-iron). Add sausage and sauté until brown and tender. Depending on type of sausage this may take 5-6 minutes.
2. Cook rigatoni according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, add onion to skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in pepper and oregano.
4. Add pasta sauce and stir to mix. Cook until warm, 3-4 minutes.
5. Drain pasta, place in a large serving dish or platter. Top with sauce and parsley, and serve.
Yield: 4 or more servings.