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Hurricane Irene Sausage-Tomato Pasta Dish

With Hurricane Irene rapidly approaching New York City and getting ready to dump lots of rain on us, it was bound to be an indoor weekend anyway.  Then, the mayor announced that the public transportation would be shut down by noon today.  With friends being told that they had to leave their homes as they live in the lowest lying areas of the city, I ended up hosting one of them to ride out the storm in my neighborhood.

I don’t know about you, but I sort of just grabbed the basic supplies at the store yesterday: batteries, milk, toilet paper, paper towels, smoked salmon, cream cheese (hey, it is New York), and Advil.  I didn’t really think much about actually making any meals during the weekend.  Fortunately, I did pick up fruit and vegetables at the Greenmarket yesterday when things were all still calm and sunny, but I didn’t really have a concept as to what I was going to put on the table to eat.

So, when my guest and I were watching the sky get darker and the rain start to come in again, it was also about time to figure out dinner.  As I hadn’t really thought about a menu, I decided to wing it based upon what I could pull out of my freezer and in my cabinets.  I’ve made a version of this dish in the past when I was staying with a sibling and prepared dinner for his family and can attest to it being flexible and easy to throw together at the last minute.  It hit all the notes for a stormy evening, and many of the ingredients are things you might already have on hand.

Sausage-Tomato Pasta Dish

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Serving size: 4


1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 c. yellow Onion, finely chopped

3 cloves Garlic, minced

2 links mild Italian Sausage, casing removed

2 links hot Italian Sausage, casing removed

1 Tbsp. dried Parsely

1 tsp. dried Basil

1 tsp. dried Oregano

2 14.5 oz. cans Chopped Tomatoes

1/2 c. Water

Penne or Rigatoni, portions for 4 people (cooked according to the packet instructions)

Parmesan Cheese, grated, for serving


Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.  Crumble the raw sausage and put it in the pan with the onions and garlic.  Cook until it is not pink any longer, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the parsley, basil, and oregano to the pan with the meat and stir until combined.  Add the cans of chopped tomatoes.  Put 1/2 c. water in one of the cans and swish it around to get the last of the tomato juice out of it.  Dump that water into the second can and do the same.  Pour the water from the tomato cans into the pan with the meat and tomatoes.  Turn the heat up to medium, let the sauce boil, and turn down the heat to let it simmer.

Let the sauce cook until most of the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes.  The sauce should not be slightly thick, not soupy, with chunks of tomatoes and sausage showing through.  Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Serve hot with parmesan cheese on the side.

Buon appetito!

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