My husband LOVES Italian sausage. It's one of his favorite things to eat. So, I thought on this slow Saturday, that I would make him a great pasta dish using ground Italian sausage.
Most neighborhoods today have wonderful local Italian and world grocery stores where you can find great ingredients for your menu at home. In the fresh market where I live, they sell Italian sausage (mild and hot) already out the casings. This is especially great for making sausage ragu. Also, because the ragu was going to be thick and chunky, I wanted to use rigatoni pasta to be able to hold up to the thickness of the sauce. Plus, I love it when the sausage and tomato chunks get stuck inside the rigatoni!
Rigatoni in Sausage Ragu
1.5 lbs of (mild or hot) Italian sausage - out the casing
1 yellow onion - diced
5 Roma tomatoes - diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 TBL of kosher salt
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBL of chopped flat leaf parsley
3 TBL of olive oil
Heat a large pot with salted boiling water. In a deep saute pan, heat olive oil in high heat. Saute the onions and dried oregano until the onions are translucent. Add the sausage and break it up into smaller chunks, and brown. Once the sausage start turning brown (at this point, add 1 cup of red wine if you desire), add all the tomatoes and scrape any and all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. The tomatoes will begin to break down and the juices from the tomatoes will start to turn into a sauce. Add the salt and red pepper flakes. Turn the heat down to medium - medium/high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta for 6-8 minutes, or until the pasta is almost al dente. Take the pasta out while it still has some bite and cook it the rest of the way in the ragu. This will ensure that the pasta has all the great flavors of the ragu and the sauce will thicken even more. Add 1 ladle of the pasta water in with the ragu to help the pasta and meat sauce toss easier.
Turn the heat off. Toss in the grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with the parsley and serve.