Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fusilli con la Salsicca dell'Agnello (Fusilli with Lamb Sausage)

While perusing the stalls of Eastern Market, I was struggling to create a primi or first dish for a meal with Clare and her parents.  Typically, in Italy, a primi is either a soup, salad or pasta dish.  My mind was focused on a pasta dish that incorporated form of meat (and, for my Angel, shrimp) along with a simple red sauce.  

Thus, I had two choices to make.  First, I had to decide upon a pasta.  I chose freshly made fusilli, primarily because I did not see the pappardelle hidden in the back.  Fusilli is a pasta that may have originated in Naples, the capital of the Italian region of Campania.  There are several possible sources for the name.  Some believe that the pasta got its name from fusile or fucile, which is the Italian word for "rifle."  The rounded, spiral shape of the pasta is supposed to represent the groves in the rifle's barrel. Others point to the Neapolitan dialect where fuso is a word that refers to spindle. 

After choosing the pasta, I had to decide upon the meat.  There are a lot of choices at Eastern Market, but I ultimately selected fresh lamb sausage.  The use of sausage provides one handy shortcut ... it provides not only the meat for the dish, but also some seasoning.  It is important to keep that in mind because if you add the normal levels of seasoning, you may end up with a dish that is -- depending upon the type of sausage you use -- too salty or too spicy.  I chose a regular lamb sausage, which did not have any chiles or peppers in it.  

One last note, when working with sausage, I ordinarily brown the sausage first.  However, I wanted to try something different, that is reflected in this recipe.  Rather than browning the sausage, I added the sausage to the tomato sauce and cooked it in the sauce.  I did this because I wanted to break up the sausage into as small of pieces as I could.  It took longer for the sausage to cook, but the end result was still very good. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 3-4

3/4 pound of fresh fusilli
1/2 pound of fresh lamb sausage, removed from casings
1 large clove of garlic, diced finely
1/2 onion, diced finely
3/4 of a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of red chile flakes
2 teaspoons of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1.  Saute the garlic and onions. Heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the garlic.  Cook for one minute.  Add the onions and continue to cook for about three to four minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Stir occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning.

2.  Add the tomatoes and lamb.  Add the tomatoes to the onion/garlic mixture.  Using a masher, mash the tomatoes until they are broken up well.  Add the basil, oregano and chile pepper flakes.  When the tomatoes begin to boil, break the lamb sausage into small pieces and add to the tomato sauce.  Continue to cook until the lamb is cooked. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir well.

3.  Cook the pasta.  Heat a pot of water until it is boiling.  Add the fresh fusilli to the boiling water.  Cook for two minutes.  Remove the pasta from the water and add it to the tomato sauce, with a little of the water.  Stir very well until the pasta is covered with the sauce.  Serve immediately.


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