Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Italian Sausage Gravy with Rigatoni

OK, what do you call the red stuff you pour over pasta?  Sauce or gravy?  I say sauce, my Old School Italian Husband says gravy.  To me (a Cajun girl from the river), gravy is brown and is served over rice.  But, my husband's Italian family swears it's gravy.  So for the sake of argument (or the sake of not arguing), let's call it gravy.


2 TBS olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 an onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 1/4 cup water
1 lb rigatoni

Cut Italian sausage links into 4 pieces each.

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Brown sausage on all sides.

Remove the sausage to a plate and set aside.  Drain off excess oil.  Deglace the pan with 1/4 cup broth (or water).  All that means is that you add the broth to the hot pan and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the onions and garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, 1 1/4 cups water, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, Parmesan cheese and sugar.  Bring to a boil.

Return the sausage to the pot.

Reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rigatoni.  A note about cooking pasta:  make sure you use enough water.  If not, the pasta will be too starchy and stick together.  You need at least 4 quarts of water per pound of pasta, if you have a big enough pot use 6 quarts of water.  Also, salt the water well.  This is the only chance you get to season the pasta.  But, add the salt once the water is boiling.  If you add it before, it takes the water much longer to come to a boil.

Serve the sauce with the rigatoni.

This is a hearty, delicious gravy (sauce).  It's easy to make and tastes way better than anything you get in a jar!  Plus, it is very easy to double if you're feeding a crowd.  It tastes even better leftover.  You can use it as a pizza sauce or put it in a calzone with some cheese.  Give this one a try.  You won't be sorry.

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