Well, our quick trip to Orlando was successful. But, we are Very,Very Sleepy. There was lots of driving and visiting and eating and Being Hot. But, I promised you a Monday Edition Sunday Supper, so here it is.
This is another variation on my recent pasta craze. I had a pound of local sausage and some ground veal. And rigatoni. Instant dinner. Well, not instant, necessarily, but the whole deal only took about an hour and fifteen minutes. You could probably cut down on the time a bit by using a pressure cooker or by not simmering the sauce as long as I did.
I didn’t really do anything much differently than I usually do, but the fat for the finishing this time was cream cheese. I do love me some cream cheese. I read in a cookbook that cream cheese is a Miracle Fabric. I’m not sure about the fabric portion, but it is pretty miraculous. It’s equally at home in sweet and in savory preparations. Pour some pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese, and you’ve got an easy snack to take to the Superbowl Party. Here’s a favorite: pineapple jam (if you can find it), horseradish and loads of black pepper. It sound kinda gross, but it is Awesome.
But, I digress. Ahem, so cream cheese was my fat. Because I like it. There was a bit more stirring and mooshing about to get it to melt because I of course forgot to take it out of the fridge even though it was My Plan to do so. Sorry. You’ll remember, though.
So, what else did I do a little differently? Oh! I know–I used some freshly grated nutmeg in the sauce. Why? Because I like it. Because it’s good with cream cheese. Because it is often in sausage and I wanted to up its presence so it wouldn’t have to keep jumping up to be recognized. I’m now imagining little nutmeg in back of big old fennel and black pepper, trying in vain to see the parade. I told you I was sleepy.
I also used a very lot of balsamic vinegar. Again, because I like it and it plays so well with tomatoes. Plus, if you’re worried about Sodium and stuff, you can cut back some on the salt if you use enough vinegar. Yay.
Sausage and Veal Rigatoni with Cream Cheese and Super Nutmeg Power
- 1 pound sweet or hot bulk sausage
- 1 pound ground beef, veal–whatever
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves (dry is fine, but I planted a bay tiny-tree a few weeks ago, so that’s what I used)
- 2 TBSP (or so) of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- pepper flake, to taste
- 8 oz. red wine
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 2 28 oz cans whole or diced tomatoes
- about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 oz. cream cheese
- 1/3 cup pasta water
- 1/3 cup grated Parm
Of course, I started with a brick of frozen sausage.
That’s probably another part of why it took over an hour. You will remember to thaw out your sausage, because you are Better Planners than I. Anyway, I thawed/browned the sausage in the big saute pan.
Then, I tossed in the onion, garlic, pepper flake, salt and pepper and Italian Seasoning along with the rest of the meat. There was a lot of food in the pan, so some steaming happened.
You could do this in batches to make sure you get some nice browning. I didn’t, because I was trying to make up for some of that Frozen Sausage Time.
Skim off most of the sausage fat. I left maybe two tablespoons, for body and flavor. I added the tomato paste and stirred it around, letting it cook for a minute or two to start caramelizing.
Add the wine and balsamic and simmer to reduce by about 3/4. Add the tomatoes. Simmer and simmer. Taste and correct seasonings. At this point, I added some more balsamic, a bit more salt and some pepper.
Cook the pasta and finish it The Way I Showed You, using the cream cheese as the fat and stirring in some Parmesan at the very end.
I served this with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, some more black pepper and a bit more cheese.
This makes a Right Ton of Sauce, so I only used about half to finish a whole pound of rigatoni. The rest, I used with some of that Yellow Box Barilla spaghetti and finished it with a splash of half and half. Round Two was almost as tasty as Round One. The cream cheese was a Very Good Idea. Give it a try sometime.
Tomorrow is all about quiche and crust and creme fraiche, thanks to Loyal Readers. The floor is still open for more questions. Tomorrow, All will be Revealed.