Pasta with Balsamic Sausage and Onion Sauce, Two Ways

Spaghetti with something on it tonight,"  I said as I buzzed past theHubby, flying out the door one day last week.  "With sausages?" he said ... actually yelled since I was already half in the car.  "Sure," I answered, "why not?"  Then spent most of my commute working out something that can be on the table before midnight since I couldn't recall the last time I combined sausages and pasta before ... or ever.

Didn't really take too much thinking, since my drive to work is only 12 minutes long.

I like tomato-based sauces.  theHubby doesn't eat tomatoes in any shape, form or viscosity, so I followed the directions up to the last step, plated his share, then continued with some jarred sauce with.  Don't bother with homemade gravy here ... the strong flavors of the sausages and onions will overshadow most  marinara sauce anyway.

 That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Sausage pairs better with a heavy pasta, so I used rotini.  Penne will work just as nicely.

To add an extra bit of smoky flavor, I grabbed the black truffle sea salt given to me by  friend  (one of the best cooking-related gifts I ever received ...  the other being a box of demarara sugar from a long-ago Wall Street co-worker who spent 3 or so months in the Caribbean on a work assignment.  That's a story in itself ... but I digress).  Since black truffle sea salt might not be in your more normal pantry, so just sub in a bit of regular kosher salt.

I read somewhere that panko crumbs make a decent substitute for Parmesan cheese, but since I was lazy in a hurry I didn't even attempt to find the article, so I simply sprinkled it over the dish.  Looks great, as you can tell, and if you eat it immediately you get a kinda-sorta similar mouth-feel, but there's no comparison on taste.  Of course later on, my super librarian powers were able to quickly  locate the exact article (at Food52 if you're curious) only to find that there were really a couple more steps involved than simply pouring on naked panko.  I'll try it correctly the next time, because we loved our versions of the pasta "sauce" and can't wait to make it again!

Buon appetito and b'tayavon!

Pasta with Balsamic Sausage and Onion Sauce, Two Ways
Yield: 4 servings

1 (12-16 oz.) box rotini or penne pasta
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (12 oz.) pkg. Italian Sweet Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbl. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black truffle sea salt (or 1/2 tsp. kosher salt)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, for garnish

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add onion.  Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion softens and just starts to brown along the edges.  Stir in the basil, oregano and salt and continue to saute another 30 seconds.

Push the onion mixture to the sides, and add the sausage pieces.  Set sit 2 minutes to sear, then saute another 2-3 minutes to brown on all sides.

Lower heat to medium, then slowly pour in the balsamic vinegar, stirring constantly to avoid burning.  If using marianara sauce, stir in sauce for 1 minute to heat it, then remove skillet from heat.

Divide pasta among 4 pasta bowls.  Spoon sausage and sauce evenly over each serving.  Sprinkle panko crumbs evenly over each serving, if desired, and serve immediately.

Important note! Because this post is participating in a blog hop, some of the recipes below might not be kosher. 


Sid Munkholm said…
Thanks so much for participating in my first (inaugural) link party. This recipe sounds wonderful and is going on my must try list. Hope to see you in January for the First Monday Favorite Recipe.

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