WARNING: THIS WILL TURN YOU INTO AN ADDICT. A TOMATO-BASIL-SAUCE-ON-PASTA-WITH-ITALIAN-SAUSAGE-ADDICT. Consider yourself warned.
We have been getting THE BEST tomatoes this year. I was inspired to create something new, not the typical spaghetti sauce I usually make, but something fresh and delicious where the tomatoes were the star and I think I did it…
There is no real recipe, use whatever quantities you like. The first time I made this (photo above) I used six large tomatoes. The last time I made it, I made enough to freeze, I used at least 11 tomatoes, big juicy fresh tomatoes from Boone Hall Farms, located in Mount Pleasant, SC. Also, the first time I made it I used penne pasta, which was a good fit, because this is NOT a thick sauce, so the tomato, garlic and onion juices got all wrapped up in the penne quite nicely. The last time I made this I used white whole wheat pasta which has more fiber, and tastes just like white (Barilla is the brand I used)… this sauce is so good we both think we can use it on whole wheat pasta with no problem. So, being the adult that I am, I bought some whole wheat pasta, so next time, we will give it a whirl…
A special THANK YOU to MOLLY WEAVER for the BEST. BASIL. EVER. She grows the sweetest basil I’ve ever tasted and she’s been incredibly generous to share it with me!
TOMATO BASIL SAUCE with GRILLED ITALIAN SAUSAGE
Fresh tomatoes, at least 6-8 large tomatoes, or as many as you like!
Garlic, chopped (or I use a microplane, it’s much faster!)
Fresh Basil, chopped
Pasta of your choice (my favorite so far was the Barilla white wheat mini penne)
Italian Sausage (I use Al Fresco, Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, no nitrates!)
Wash, core and chop the tomatoes. Put in a big bowl so they’re ready to go…
Chop the onion (as small or large as you like), grate or mince the garlic (the smaller it is the healthier it is for you).
In a large stainless pan (I use a heavy pan, less likely for the garlic and onion to burn), drizzle some olive oil. Enough to keep onions and garlic from sticking to pan.
Once oil is warm, toss in the onion, once they begin to get translucent, make a little well in the center and toss in the garlic (make sure you still have olive oil, if not add some), cook for ONE MINUTE or until fragrant (on medium heat).
Now toss in the tomatoes… and stir it all around, get the onions and garlic mixed in with those tomatoes and wait until you start to see some bubbling. Then you can turn the flame down to low/med low and put a lid on the pan. (I do not leave the kitchen during this step in case they start to boil over). Let them cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and it will look like you have tomato soup! Take a handheld potato masher and slowly and carefully mash the tomatoes into the juice (you can omit this step if you prefer). Now let it cook with the lid off until it reduces at least an inch… right when it’s about there add the fresh basil, salt and pepper.
Cook your pasta according to package directions… about the same time, throw your Italian Sausage on the grill (I use chicken Italian sausage, oh is it ever delicious!) until done. Then slice thinly. (Note: if you don’t want to mess with the grill you could use scissors and cut the pasta and saute it, but I think the grill adds a nice crispiness to it that goes so nicely with this sauce.)
Scoop out some pasta, add some sauce, top with the Italian sausage and some parmesan cheese.
YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE IT. TRUST ME.
Catch you back here tomorrow!
UPDATE: I’ve made this again since I wrote the original post. I used Barilla Whole Grain pasta (51% wheat), and it was delicious! Thought I bought whole wheat because it was so dark, but noticed when I got home it was whole grain… NEXT time will try whole wheat!
Also… since tomato season is winding down, I’ve been making this and freezing it in batches. I don’t have a lot of freezer space, so this is how I do it.
Chill the sauce in the refrigerator. Then scoop enough (for the two of us I use 3-4 ladles) for one dinner into a labeled quart freezer bag. Put the bags on a cookie sheet and make sure they’re nice and flat. Once frozen, remove cookie sheet. You can store them standing up (like a file) or store flat. When it comes time to defrost, I just set out on the counter OR run under cold water for a few minutes. Because it’s not thick it defrosts quickly. Snip off one of the bottom ends of the ziplock and squeeze contents into a pan to heat. Toss the bag. Easy, right?