Cooking together and eating around our little oval maple dining table were some of the best times in our house when I was growing up; I’ve told you before about the luscious crab cakes my family made the day we netted blue crabs on St. Joe Beach, about my mom’s fabulous fried chicken, and about my grandfather’s making Julia Child’s classics. Those recipes are still in rotation in my own kitchen.
Today I want to share with you another family recipe, this one for linguine and Italian sausage. It’s one my dad made quite often during my middle school and high school years. If I remember correctly, it was a recipe he found in an issue of Southern Living magazine in the ’80s. I loved it, and I came up with my own version, since I can’t find the original recipe.
Italian sausage is a delightful meat. The flavor that fennel seed lends to it makes it the star of this dish, though the texture of the tender sausage as you bite into it is something special, as well. The linguine is a great choice to pair with it, as its wider ribbon is sturdier than, say, vermicelli would be when in a dish with the rustic sausage. Because of its heartiness, dad only made this recipe during fall and winter, but I refuse to be limited by seasonal restrictions in this case.
I hope you’ll try it out and let me know in the comments below how you liked it and what tweaks you made, if any. I look forward to hearing from you!
Dad’s Linguine with Italian Sausage
1 pound of Italian sausage links, sliced into 1/2- to 1-inch thick medallions
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
Italian seasoning blend
12 ounces linguine pasta
1. Boil pasta according to package directions in well-salted water.
2. While pasta water is heating, brown the Italian sausage rounds in a large skillet with deep sides, or a Dutch oven, for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, not allowing to overbrown. Drain off the fat when fully cooked.
3. Add to the pan the onion and garlic, and cook for a minute or two until softened and fragrant.
4. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pan, and sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the mixture, stirring in well. (Dad used about 1 teaspoon of the seasoning.)
5. Stir well, and allow to come to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes as the pasta cooks, and taste for seasoning. Add a bit of salt as needed.
6. Drain pasta when done, and then serve with the sauce.
Dad always served the sauce over a mound of linguine on each plate, dividing the sausage evenly among all plates. I prefer to mix the sauce into the pasta, so every strand is coated by the flavor if the sauce.
If the sauce seems too acidic, add a teaspoon or two of honey until you take the edge off. A scant teaspoon of sugar works, too.
Perfect when served with broiled garlic bread and a salad.
Copyright 2015 Stephanie Hill Frazier. All rights reserved.