A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pasta with Simple Italian Sausage Ragu

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pasta with Simple Italian Sausage Ragu

Yesterday I told you all about pasta class at Pasta Puttana. It was such a fun way to spend a snowy Saturday afternoon! As we were leaving the class the snow really started to pick up and I knew that Alex and I would probably be staying in that evening, so I figured I should stock up for dinner on my way home. Across the street from Pasta Puttana was an adorable little market called the Green Grocer and armed with my fresh pasta, I went in to find a few more ingredients to complete my meal.

The Green Grocer carried a really nice variety of organic, healthy, and locally-sourced products that are often really difficult to find in major grocery stores. While I'm not usually a huge fan of Italian sausage-- I usually find it to be too fatty-- they had several varieties of Smoking Goose sausage there and I was intrigued. It is produced in nearby Indianapolis with fresh and interesting ingredients. I picked up a package of their hot Italian sausage and a can of fire roasted tomatoes and figured I had the perfect beginnings to a cozy dinner for a snowy Saturday.

This pasta dinner is hearty and flavorful-- ideal for a Saturday date night in or just to change things up for your typical weeknight dinners. Spicy Italian sausage and bold fire roasted tomatoes combine with sweet basil and white wine to create a really delicious sauce with a variety of flavors.

I used the garganelli that we made in pasta class and the shape worked really well with this sauce. If you don't have garganelli, you could use another short cut tube-shaped pasta like penne or rigatoni too.

  • 1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage, either bulk or links with casings removed *I used Smoking Goose brand Hot Italian Fennel Sausage
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1-inch thin slices
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (15-oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. tubular pasta like garganelli, penne, rigatoni, etc.
Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. If you're using a less fatty sausage (I found that the Smoking Goose wasn't as fatty as grocery store Italian sausage-- which I prefer) then add the optional olive oil to the pan. Add the sausage to the pan and break it up into smaller piece while sauteing.

Cook sausage until brown and then add onions to pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until onions begin to soften. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in wine, raise heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and cook for another 6 minutes until the liquid begins to reduce.

Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste until combined, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until almost done-- cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than the package directions call for-- and then drain.

Add basil and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and cook for another 2 minutes until warmed through and the pasta is al dente.

Serve warm with grated Parmesan cheese and/or fresh basil on top.


  1. This looks hearty and delicious for a cold Winter night! XX Kat

    1. Thanks Kat! And it was the perfect dinner for being snowed in!


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