Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cellentani Zucchine a Salsicce Calabrese al Salsa Pomodoro con Basilico

"Forget about it!"  The old Italian saying goes on!  
     This pasta sounds fancy but it is very simple.  A pasta "zucchine a salsicce" is a plain olive oil and garlic sauced zucchini and sausage pasta.  Add some tomato sauce and the pomodoro word gets attached.  The plain olive oil version of this pasta is a traditional Italian recipe.  Adding the tomato sauce to this recipe is nice, but not traditional.  Either way, this simple pasta is good.  Its just a matter of preference.
     Fresh sausage is usually used in the traditional version.  Salsicce Calabrese is used in this pasta version.  Dry calabrese pork sausage is similar to American pepperoni sausage but not quite as highly spiced.  The flavors of this pasta are bold and nice.
     Cellentani pasta is a ribbed spiral shaped tube pasta that is perfect for picking up this sauce.
     Salsa di Pomodoro con Basilico Recipe (Tomato Basil Sauce):
     Heat some olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat.  (The proportion of olive oil to the tomatoes should be about one part olive oil to five parts of tomato.)
     Add 5 very finely chopped garlic cloves and a small handful of minced onion to the hot oil.
     Let the garlic sizzle till it turns a light golden color.
     Add one 28oz can of imported Italian plum tomato puree.
     Place a 28oz can of imported Italian peeled plum tomatoes packed in their own juices into a mixing bowl.
     Hand crush the tomatoes in the bowl and then add them to the sauce.
     Stir the sauce often as it reaches a simmering temperature.
     Pluck the leaves off of an entire large bunch of basil.
     Add the basil leaves to the sauce.  (It may seem like a lot of basil but the leaves will wilt into the sauce.)
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     When the sauce starts to bubble and simmer, reduce the heat to medium low.
     Stir the olive oil that separates from the tomatoes back into the sauce occasionally.
     The rule of thumb is to stir a tomato sauce once every five minutes.  The olive oil will become part of the sauce after the sauce is done cooking.  Without enough olive oil, a tomato sauce may end up looking like stewed tomatoes instead of glistening perfect Italian tomato sauce.
     Simmer this sauce very slowly over low heat for about one hour.
     Set the sauce aside.
     Recipe:  Saute 2 cloves of thin sliced garlic with a small splash of olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan.
     When the garlic turns a golden color, add a handful of small chopped zucchini.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add a pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano leaf.
     Saute till the zucchini pieces are cooked but not soft.
     Add some very thin sliced salsiccia calabrese (Italian dry calabrese sausage).
     Saute for a minute.
     Add a splash of dry vermouth.
     Simmer the ingredients for a minute.
     Add a little bit of salsa pomodoro con basilico (Tomato Basil Sauce.)
     Add a few pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     When the sauce simmers and becomes hot, stir in a little bit of grated parmesan cheese.
     Stir the sauce and then add some al dente cooked cellentani pasta.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Set the pasta on a plate and spoon any excess sauce over the pasta.
     Sprinkle a little bit of chopped Italian parsley and grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.
     As you can see in the photos, it doesn't take too much sauce to flavor this pasta.  Use just enough tomato basil sauce to coat the pasta.  The zucchini adds a very nice depth and texture to the sauce.  The calabrese dried sausage has a mild flavor and is not greasy at all.  Calabrese dried sausage is usually used as a flavoring ingredient in some traditional Italian simmered dishes.  The little bit of parmesan cheese in the sauce adds a nice richness to this pasta.  Yum!  Ciao Baby! ... Shawna

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