Sausage and Rigatoni

It is so good to have sausages back in the freezer. Alas, the freezer is extremely F-U-L-L right now. I’ve mentioned before that we do not have another freezer downstairs because I would simply fill it up. We just don’t need to have that much stuff in the house. We actually don’t need all the stuff we do have – although I do like having options for cooking dinner… Right now, we have lots of options.

Options are good. It keeps me from getting into a total rut when it comes to cooking. That, and my subscription to the New York Times. I really do like having something to keep my mind fresh. Back in my actual cooking, menu, and recipe development days, I was a lot more creative – it’s what I was being paid to do and how my mind was wired. Not so, today. I mean, I can still walk into the kitchen and cook dinner without thinking about it, but it’s a lot easier to get the creative juices flowing when there are 14000 recipes at your disposal.

I’m lazy and spoiled.

Tonight’s dinner was what I had planned for last night – except I had planned to use orecchiette. There was no orecchiette in the cupboard, but there was exactly the amount of mini rigatoni that I needed. Dinner was saved.

At any given moment there are close to a dozen different pastas in the cupboard – not counting egg noodles, Chinese noodles, rice noodles, and all those other non-Italian-type things. And I have several more arriving from Eataly any day now… I’ve actually had to move some things downstairs – the exact reason we don’t have a freezer down there. At least with the grocery items right at the bottom of the stairs, I can see at a glance what we have.

Dinner was quick and easy – and helped finish off the old produce to make room for the new.

Sausage and Rigatoni

  • 2 hot Italian sausages
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 6 oz arugula
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cooked pasta of your choice
  • grated parmesan cheese, if desired

Grill sausages about 3/4 cooked. Set aside.

Sauté fennel and leek in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, or so.

Add wine and a splash of brandy. Reduce by about a third.

Stir in arugula.

Slice sausages and add to pan, heating them through.

Add cooked pasta and a bit of pasta cooking water, if needed. Add grated cheese, if using. Mix everything well.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

Really simple, lots of flavor, and ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. I grilled the sausages and then sliced them into thick hunks. You could cook them in the skillet but I really do like them on the grill. And cooking them about 3/4 the way through before making the pasta dish makes for a fully cooked – but not overcooked – sausage.