Brrrr! Is it ever cold out there today! Winter in the Northeast is showing up in every way these days whether it is the strong winds, cold air or the little white stuff falling from the sky. I almost forgot what that bone chilling wind was like cutting right through me as my family and I trudge up to the top of the SU hill on our way to the Carrier Dome as basketball season is underway. Yikes, it is only going to get worse! So what’s a girl to do when she and the family get in from out of the cold? Cook, of course! Cook what? Italian comfort food, of course!
Quite honestly there are days I ask myself what I’m going to cook right as I’m walking in the door. I usually race to the refrigerator and then the cupboards frantically hoping for a recipe to formulate in my head from what I see on the shelves.
The other day I looked and thought – BINGO – Pasta e Fagilio or Pasta and Beans. Yes this is another one that my grandmother used to cook up for me and my mother still does, but on this night I was going to cook it. It is so quick and easy – you won’t even believe it!
1 can of crushed tomatoes 15 oz.
1 can of cannellini beans (drained)
1/2 lb of short cut pasta (elbows or ditalini)
3 cloves of garlic
2 links of hot sausage – bulk or out of casing
1/2 medium onion chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and give it two turns of olive oil. On a cutting board with the flat part of the knife smash down onto the garlic. Peel the garlic and fry it with the olive oil until golden brown. When the garlic is almost done add the onions and cook until translucent,add the crushed tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper, garlic powder and sugar and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir the sauce frequently. Taste the sauce to make sure there is enough salt, pepper, and garlic that suit your taste buds. Also make sure the sugar has broken down the acidity of the sauce.
In another frying pan cook the sausage making sure it is broken into smaller pieces. While that is frying, add water to a medium pot and bring to a boil, generously salt the water and add the pasta. Boil the pasta until al dente or cooked until it is almost done or slightly hard. When the sausage is done cooking add it to the sauce along with the drippings. Stir the sauce and add the Parmesan cheese and incorporate well into the sauce.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta well and then add to the sauce. Cook for about 5 more minutes so all ingredients can marry well and the pasta absorbs the sauce. Serve in individual bowls and grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.
Optional: Chop some fresh parsley or basil and sprinkle over the top.
Mangia and Enjoy!