Paccheri with Italian Sausage

Paccheri Pasta with Italian Sausage Recipe

Now that I had my homemade Italian sausage, I was dying to use it in a dish. This is an easy pasta that can be thrown together in literally half an hour. Served with simple garlic bread you've got a meal that will make you rethink eating out at local Italian restaurants.

I understand people's love of Italian food. What I don't understand is why people go out to mediocre Italian restaurants when most pasta dishes can be made far more delicious, not to mention far cheaper, with just a little work at home. I'm using my sausage tonight along with paccheri, a big tubular noodle, but you can make this same dish using any sausage and pasta shape you like.

Boozy Epicure's Paccheri with Italian Sausage
This recipe makes 2 generous portions. The sauce can easily dress twice the amount of pasta,
which would be more traditional as well, I just have a hard time making small amounts of sauce,
so I tend to overdress my pasta. Not a problem for me as long as I've got bread.

extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbslp tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup milk
salt/pepper to taste
grated cheese (I'm using pecorino, but parm is also great)
chopped parsley for garnish
6 oz paccheri (or pasta shape of your choice)

Start by placing a small amount of olive oil (1 tbsp?), the sausage and the chopped onion in your pan. Break up the sausage as it heats up, then add the tomato paste. Cook this for 8-10 minutes, until the onions have softened and the sausage is cooked through. At this point I'd put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta.

Sausage, onions and oil in the pan
Tomato paste added

Deglaze you pan with the red wine, and after it has cooked down (just about 2 minutes) add one small can of crushed tomatoes.

Wine in and reducing
Tomatoes added

By this point, your pasta water should be boiling. Make sure you salt the water and put the pasta in, using the cooking time listed on the package. While the pasta is cooking, simmer the sauce, letting all the flavors meld. When there is about one minute left  for the pasta, add the milk to the sauce and stir to combine. Then drain your pasta (reserve some of the cooking water) and add to the sauce. Cook for one more minute together, to get the pasta soaking up all that sauce, and if it gets too dry, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water.

Dish onto plates, top with grated cheese and parsley, and serve with garlic bread. Yum! Easy and delicious.

Wine pairing ideas: I really like Italian reds with red sauce, but be careful, the spices in the sausage will clash if your wine has tannin, so look for something light and fruity. I think immediately of Barbera, Valpolicalla or a simple Chianti, but Beaujolais or Pinot Noir would be nice too.

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