A perfect “Pasta Night” recipe.
Unlike Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday, Pasta Night is our own creation. It’s the night when nothing is more comforting than a bowl of pasta with a really terrific sauce. Inspired by Premio Sausages 1 lb. packages that mix both hot and sweet Italian sausages, I went on a quest for a recipe. Ina Garten is a perennial favorite on Chewing The Fat. Since I hadn’t made anything Ina in a while, I went straight to her latest “Modern Comfort Food”(Clarkson Potter 2020). My chosen ingredients weren’t there. But to my amazement, when I did a recipe search, first up was a recipe called “Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage”. It featured both hot and sweet sausages and many comments from people who used Broccoli but not Rabe. And wouldn’t you know, it was from Ina Garten’s “Modern Comfort Food”. The TV Show, not the book.
When is a recipe an original?
Andrew’s sister, Lauren, and I trade certain ‘comments’ on recipes. We are particular fans of recipes that have been so altered, they have nothing to do with the original. Bonus points to the recipe changers who proceed to say the results were terrible. And top marks to those who somehow circle back to the original blaming it for their kitchen failures. As I started to make changes to Ina’s dish, I realized I was at risk of doing the same thing. Except the results were wonderful: A meaty, chunky tomato-y sauce with crisp broccoli, oodles of tangy Pecorino Romano cheese, and a Penzeys* spice mix called “Pasta Sprinkle” that is quintessentially Italian. (If you’re going to make your own, you’ll need dried basil, oregano, thyme, and minced garlic.). It was delicious! So is this recipe now mine or Ina’s?
The legal definition of an original recipe.
There’s a school of thought that believes an adjustment of three (or more) ingredients to someone else’s recipe results in your own original recipe. However, the definition of the word “recipe” makes it obvious you must do more than that. Merriam-Webster defines a recipe as: “A formula for cooking or preparing something to be eaten or drunk: a list of ingredients and a statement of the procedure to be followed in making an item of food or drink.” So changing 3 ingredients is only half that definition. The rest is that your instructions have to vary or you’ve basically just stolen someone else’s recipe. In Ina’s case, even your ingredient list is purloined if you use Ina’s preferred “good Olive Oil”, “good mayonnaise’ or “plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano.” So today’s recipe isn’t really Ina’s. It’s not exactly mine either. But it’s awfully good. And here it is.
*Penzeys is our preferred purveyor of Herbs and Spices. Go to https://www.penzeys.com/
Penne with Broccolini and Hot and Sweet Sausage
A meaty, aromatic, chunky tomato-y sauce with crisp broccoli, and oodles of tangy Pecorino Romano cheese.
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausages
- 1/2 pound hot Italian pork sausages
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans or 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, sliced in the can
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 tbsp. tomato paste
- 4 tsp. Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle* or a mixture of 1 tsp. Dried Basil, 1 tsp. Oregano, 1 tsp. Thyme and 1 tsp. Garlic flakes.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Penne (preferably De Cecco)
- 2 lbs. Broccolini heads only
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 Cover a small sheet pan with Aluminum Foil.
- Step 3 Prick the sausages with a fork and place them on the sheet pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once until cooked through. Slice 1/4 inch thick and set aside.
- Step 4 With a sharp knife, cut up the Whole tomatoes in the can. You want big chunks of tomato.
- Step 5 Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot with a lid or a Dutch oven. Add the sausage and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pieces are browned. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Step 6 Add the tomatoes and their juices, the red wine, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, 4 tsp. of Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle (or the individual spices), and let the mixture simmer over low heat while you cook the pasta and broccoli.
- Step 7 Bring a large pot half-filled with water to a rolling boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the penne and cook for exactly 9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, trim the broccolini to just below the leaves and throw away the stems. When the pasta has cooked for 9 minutes, add the broccolini to the pasta and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the broccolini is crisp-tender. Drain in a large colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the penne and broccoli to the pot with the tomato and sausage mixture. Stir in the Pecorino cheese and 1 teaspoon of salt. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste for seasonings and serve hot with extra Pecorino on the side.