There’s something really gratifying about finding a new recipe for something you’ve just run out of ideas for. In this case, I’d caved in to Costco’s Premio Sausage packages. My son, Alex, tells me there are 12 step programs for Costco shoppers and I may be one step away. But the sausages are identical to the ones at my much more expensive butcher and priced very affordably. Unfortunately, your purchase still leaves you staring at all that sausage and wondering if selling them at the San Gennaro Street Festival is an option.
Then I came across this recipe from a restaurant in Bernardsville NJ called “Eccoqui”, the translation of which is “Here I am”. Apparently, no, they are not because I cannot find a current listing for the place in neither Zagat’s nor Open Table. If a reader wants to clue us in on Eccoqui’s status, please do. However, their recipe for Pasta with sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms has survived them and gets rave reviews. And for good reason. It’s a very satisfying dish with plenty of flavor and texture.
I’d gotten my papardelle from DiPalo’s of Stracciatella Pizza fame. I cooked half the fresh noodles the first time I served this dish. I froze the rest and we had them a couple of weeks later. They were perfectly fine.
We paired the Pappardelle with a simple arugula salad topped with shaved Parmigiano cheese and some garlic rubbed Crostini. The recipes for these follow this one:
Recipe for Pappardelle con salsiccia Pappardelle with sausage
6 Italian sweet sausages, casings removed, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pounds Portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cups chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup chopped fresh oregano
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with added puree
2 medium-large tomatoes, diced or 1 14.50z. can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 pound pappardelle or mafaldine pasta (or any wide, flat noodles)
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1. Sauté sausage in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until brown, about 12 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl.
2. Add oil to drippings in pot. Add mushrooms and onions; sauté until tender and brown, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 cup chopped basil, oregano, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add wine; cook until almost absorbed, about 4 minutes.
4. Add sausage and crushed tomatoes; cover and simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 25 minutes.
5. Add diced tomatoes and butter; simmer until tomatoes are soft, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
6. (Can be made 1 day ahead and likely should be. It is one of those sauces that only gets better as it rests a day or two). Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
7. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.
8. Drain well; return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat.
9. Add 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 cup basil; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Serve, passing remaining cheese separately.
Recipe for Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmigiano
2-3 cups baby arugula leaves
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
Juice of ½ lemon
A good grinding of black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
3-4 shavings of Parmigiano cheese
1. In a salad bowl, coat arugula leaves with olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice, grind the pepper and sprinkle the salt over the arugula. Toss. Set on plates. Top with Parmigiano shavings.
2. Serves 2.
Recipe for Crostini
½ loaf of Ciabatta bread, sliced 1 inch thick to make 6 Crostini.
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 large clove of garlic, sliced in half.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brush both sides of ciabatta bread slices with olive oil.
3. Take half the clove of garlic and rub it on both sides of 3 slices of bread. Repeat with the other half of the garlic on the remaining 3 slices of bread.
4. Put bread on a sheet pan and put into the oven.
5. In about 10 minutes when toast is browned to your liking, turn bread over and toast another 5-8 minutes. Serve at once.