Saturday, July 23, 2011

Recipe: Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta (Gluten Free)

A tasty pasta filled with all five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. 
I've always been a sucker for a creamy pan-sauce pasta. Especially one with with sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary. We don't typically keep a ready supply of heavy cream in the house. But on a recent camping trip we had made whipped cream for a strawberry rhubarb crisp, and happened to have half a pint left.

This recipe contains each of the five basic tastes: sweet (cream, caramelized onions), sour (sun-dried tomatoes), salty (salt, butter, sausage), bitter (rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes), and umami (sausage, sauteed mushrooms and onions, sun-dried tomatoes).
The essential ingredients of
flavor come together in this recipe

This means it's packed with flavor. Thankfully, it's also quick and easy to make. It takes about 30 minutes, and most of that is just waiting for the pasta to cook.

My rendition is gluten free, but you could make it with wheat pasta as well. If you go for gluten free pasta, use Tinkyada brand. Everything else tastes like monkey balls. Note: if you follow that link, you'll have to pardon the Tinkyada website (I thought animated GIFs had gone the way of the coelacanth).

OK, here's how this recipe breaks down:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 4 sausage links, sliced into 1/3 inch sections
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 loose teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (e.g. chardonnay)
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
Start the pasta water first thing. Make sure the water is nice and salty. Pasta water should taste like a somewhat too-salty soup.

While the water works up to a boil, slice your mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices, dice your onion, and chop your sun-dried tomatoes.

Once the pasta water gets within a minute or two of boiling, heat a medium stainless steel saute pan on medium heat. Add the canola oil to the pan. After perhaps 5 minutes of heat, when the oil shimmers (but before it smokes), toss in your diced onion and sliced mushrooms.

While you're working on the sauteed ingredients, begin cooking your pasta as soon as the water reaches a rolling boil. Just after you add the pasta to the boiling water, make sure to stir things around a bit to break up any clumps that form before the water gets back to a rolling boil.

Mushrooms, onion, and
sausage cooking. 
Saute the mushrooms and onions for 5 minutes—stirring or flipping often. Add the sausage and continue to stir/saute.

Don't forget to keep track of your pasta while it boils. When it is al dente (a tad underdone), strain it and then toss it back into the (empty) pot in which it boiled. Stir in some olive oil and then cover the pasta and set it somewhere off heat (trivet, cutting board, etc.). Give it a stir in another minute as well.

Cook the sausage and saute the mushrooms together until they're done—stirring quite frequently.

It's almost time to eat. The sausage doesn't have to be completely done, but it should be pretty darn close. Mushrooms should be essentially done (taste them!).

Deglazing fond from the pan
Toss in your chopped sun-dried tomatoes, stir things around briefly, and then deglaze the pan with white wine.

Scrape the browned bits of goodness up off the bottom of the pan for 30 seconds, and then add the heavy cream and rosemary.

Stir things around some more, and let the whole concoction come back up to heat for 2-3 minutes. This helps reduce the cream volume and concentrates the flavors.

Taste the sauce. You'll almost certainly need to add salt and cracked black pepper. If it doesn't burst with flavor, keep adding salt until it does.

Add your pasta to the sauce, and stir things around for 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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