Penne with Sausage and Mushrooms

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Penne with Sausage and Mushrooms

submitted by j.martin1218
from Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.A.

3-4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
2 Tbsp virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish (see Notes below)
1 pound mild or hot Italian sausage (see Notes below)
1 tsp freshly ground fennel seed (see Notes below)
1 Tbsp ground basil
1 Tbsp ground oregano (see Notes below)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
hot pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
1/4 pound sliced fresh button mushrooms
1 26-oz. bottle quality pasta sauce (e.g. Barilla, Classico)
1 26-oz. can plum tomatoes (see Notes below)
1 pound penne pasta
ground romano cheese

Saute chopped garlic in olive oil. Add Italian sausage in pinches,
breaking up the pieces as they
cook. Add ground fennel, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and pepper
flakes or cayenne. Cook
2-3 minutes longer. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until they give up their
water and are limp.
Add bottled pasta sauce and canned tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes with
fingers, reserving
liquid . As the tomatoes break down, add the liquid if the sauce gets too
thick, or if you prefer a thinner sauce. Simmer over medium low heat for
about an hour.
In another pot, meanwhile, cook pasta until it is al dente (about 11 mins.
if using a commercial
pasta, e.g. Barilla) Pour into pasta bowl, add sauce, and toss. Pass with
grated Romano and, if you
like, toasted slices of buttered sourdough bread.
Serves 6.

Notes: You may want to add less fennel and/or hot pepper flakes if you use
hot Italian sausage. Some sausage, especially the hot type, has plenty of
fennel. If adding oregano, I prefer the Mexican variety, which is stronger
than its European cousin. You may want to use less basil and/or oregano if
the commercial tomato sauce contains plenty of it. San Marzano tomatoes
are now available canned at almost any market. They are, of course, the
small "plum" tomatoes. Imported San Marzano tomatoes are pricier but well
worth it. They may seem a little "tough" as you break them up with your
fingers, but they break down with the simmering.


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