Pasta with Caramelized Tomatoes and Sausage
Less is more in this dish: Just five ingredients combine to make a satisfying meal. A pleasing level of heat is provided by the red pepper flakes, though you can omit them if you’re not a fan.
What to buy: Sweet Italian sausage, sometimes called mild Italian sausage, is flavored with fennel and garlic and can be found in most supermarkets. We call for the cooked variety, but if you can’t find it feel free to substitute fresh and simply cook it before using. If you want more heat, replace the mild Italian sausage with hot Italian sausage.
Game plan: If tomatoes are not in their prime and you’re dying to make this pasta, toss the chopped tomatoes with a pinch of salt and set them in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl for at least 10 minutes to boost their flavor.
This recipe was featured as part of our Tomatoes! photo gallery.
- 1 pound fully cooked sweet Italian sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 pound dried pasta, such as rigatoni or farfalle
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish
1Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat and, once heated, add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2Drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook, stirring only occasionally, until tender and caramelized, about 3 minutes.
3Cook pasta according to the package directions. When it’s al dente, drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water for the sauce. Add pasta water to tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
4Add drained pasta, red pepper flakes, and cooked sausage to tomato mixture. Stir gently until pasta is well coated with sauce. Serve topped with shavings of Pecorino Romano.
Beverage pairing: Contesa Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigna Corvino, Italy. The Montepulciano grape makes honest, everyday wines that might not often be spectacular but are simply delicious and food-friendly. This wine has buckets of cherry fruit and an inky, violet edge. Its acidity will keep up with the tomatoes, but it also has enough stuffing to carry on with the sausage.
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