I’ll admit it. I used an online translator to figure out how to say “arrabiatta with spicy sausage.” The first time I had this dish was on a date at Scuzzi in the River North area of Chicago. It sounded tasty and was something I had yet to eat, which becomes a shorter list as I age.
My date and I downed two glasses of wine–alcoholics, I know–before our entrees arrived.
The sausage-filled sauce was just spicy enough to make your lips tingle, but had a creamy element to add a richness.
Later that week I started to make my own arrabiata sauce. After a few trials here is the winning line up to make it better than an Italian restaurant. Bold words.
What You Need:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped (~1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1 1/4 pounds of hot Italian sausage. Get the ground meat vs. the links.
1 big can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes. Tip-look at the ingredients. You want one that has tomatoes, not puree as the first ingredient.
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup red wine–I like cabernet sauvignon, but most reds will work.
1 good shake of crushed red pepper flakes
6-8 chopped fresh basil leaves
1 box of whole wheat rigatoni (or your favorite noodle)
The juice of half a lemon
2 oz goat cheese. The package was 5 oz, so use about a third.
2 – Chop onion, garlic, red pepper. Small pieces are fine.
3 – Add olive oil to the hot pan. Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom of the pan.
4 – Add in the onions and stir for 2 mins.
5 – Add in the chopped garlic. Sautee for 1 min.
6 – Add in the red bell pepper. Stir and cook another 2 mins. (Now is a good time to get the pot of water going for the pasta.)
7 – Add in the hot italian sausage. Break up the chunks with a spoon to brown the meat. It will take 5 – 7 minutes to brown/cook the sausage bits.
8 – After all of the meat is browned and no longer looks pink, open the cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
9 – Shake in the red pepper flakes and a little salt. Grind some fresh pepper into the pan.
10 – Dump in the monster can of crushed toms into the pan. Slowly stir the building deliciousness.
11 – Turn down the heat to medium/low. You want the sauce to be gently bubbling, NOT vigorously boiling fire bombs toward your eyes.
12 – Spoon out a little more than a tablespoon of the paste. Stir.
13 – Pour a glass of wine for yourself if you haven’t already, then pour a cup into the sauce. Let this simmer for 5 – 8 minutes stirring occasionally.
14 – Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the half lemon juice into the pan. Stir.
15 – Chop about an inch off the goat cheese log and stir into the sauce.
16 – Kill the heat. Chop the fresh basil and toss into the sauce. Combine with some pasta.