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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Casareccia Arrabbiata con Salsiccia

My mom was visiting this past week, and although we did do some very fine dining-out, I still wanted to make a few things at home while she was here.

Namely, I wanted to use up some of the stuff I bought at the farmers' market last weekend.

Not the least of which was some awesome bratwurst I picked up from a very German vendor there.  I've been living here for almost a decade and I still find it hard to get good German sausage... so this was cool!

Anyway... Casareccia Arrabbiata con Salsiccia, is essentially pasta in a spicy tomato sauce, with sausage.  Arrabbiata literally means 'angry' and the sauce is so named for its spiciness.  However... my mother isn't exactly a fan of spicy foods, so this particular meal was prepared "mild".

There was a good deal of wine consumed before, and during the preparation of this meal, so  I apologize if it is a deal sloppier than my usual documentation.  The photography, especially, is kind of nasty.  Sorry!


First, as always, comes the chopping.

Garlic, green onion, and a small (mild arrabbiata) amount of chili pepper.

There's also a fair bit of fresh basil that I chopped up as well, but that goes in later.
For now, the garlic, onion, and pepper, get sauteed in a fair glug of olive oil.  

I don't think I need to mention that whenever I refer to 'olive oil' in my posts, I am of course referring to 'extra virgin olive oil'.  To me there really is no other kind.  Even my flavoured oils are all extra virgin.  Don't be stupid.
So these ingredients get sauteed on medium-low for about 4 minutes, and then the loosely-chopped basil gets thrown in just for a minute.

The tomatoes get added pretty much immediately after that, so have them ready to go.  If you're using fresh tomatoes, just blend em up real good beforehand.  If you're using paste like I am, just make sure (as I've said many times before!) that they're relatively pure.  Organic tomato paste with the only ingredient being "Tomatoes", is of course the best choice.

Then, it's just add water till you reach your desired consistency; in this case, I wanted it fairly runny, and I added enough flavour to be able to go the distance for a couple cans' worth of water.  If you want to get fancy, use some of your starchy water from your boiled pasta (which can be boiled in advance, btw.)  The older and more experienced I get with pastas, the less worried I become about boiled pasta.  I believe it is the sauce's job to take care of the pasta, not the other way around.  A medium if you will, for the sauce to make it to your mouth.  :)  

So... I'll often just cook it to al dente and then drain it and let it sit until the rest of the meal is ready.  Yes, this means it cools down, but the sauce is piping hot, right?  I don't believe in adding oil to boiling pasta either, so if your noodles stick together after a while, just break em up gently with your hands before serving.

Anyway... while the sauce was simmering on low for a while, I pan-fried my bratwurst.

Same deal as with most sausages... poach them with some water for a bit first, and then fry with only a drop or two of oil.

Then with some tongs, because these things are f'n hot, slice them relatively thinly.  It doesn't have to be too thin... especially in this kind of thin sauce.

I admit that at this point not all of these sausage slices made it into the sauce.  A few perished as sacrifices to the great ijj mouth in the sky.  The remaining slices were grateful and relieved with a new-found appreciation for life... up until they were scalded alive in arrabbiata sauce.  Heh heh heh.

At this point, however, I just quickly tossed them in the now-ready sauce, and then served it up.  If I had had a poorer quality sausage, I would have let the sausage cook in the sauce for much longer, so as to take on some of that flavour.  However... for this dish, I intended for the sauce and sausage to be two distinct flavours, juxtaposed.  Complementary to be sure, but distinct.  The sausage was good, and even though the sauce was mild, the meat provided a nice differential in the heat of the dish.

I forgot to take a good 'presentation' shot of this dish, prepared, but rest assured it looked nice.  The pasta underneath, a small yet blatant, blotch of red over the noodles, and then a small sprinkling of freshly-grated parmigiano reggiano on top.

I did remember to take a picture of it before too long... but not before the great ijj beast had already ravaged the splendour of the dish's beauty.

This pasta was delightful.  It was served as the main course in what was meant to be three courses; the first was a light spinach salad in a white wine & honey dressing, and dessert was meant to be some gourmet cupcakes... but no one seemed to be hungry enough for dessert this day.

I'll take that as a good sign.

I think this was still a little too spicy for my mom's liking, although she was gracious not to say anything about it.  However, I can assure you that it was definitely on the mild end of an arrabbiata sauce!  It was still delicious, and the mildness allowed for some of the other flavours to shine through very well.

My wife and I are currently enjoying copious amounts of left-overs, in fact... and should be for another couple of meals!

1 comment:

  1. My favorite meal ... tomato sauce with pasta and sausage ....mmm... good! Regret not having the cupcakes but you are right, dinner and wine was enough.