Years ago a colleague named Tony (who by the way was Italian), brought an incredible pasta dish to an office gathering. I asked him for the recipe, and he graciously agreed. The last time that I remember making Tony’s Pasta was in 1991 (yes, I’m that old!) for a family gathering. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t made it again until now, but I guess that’s life. Anyway, you should try this – it’s bursting with flavor, and simple to make. It will not disappoint!
Ingredients for Tony’s Pasta:
I used the following ingredients for Tony’s Pasta: Sweet Italian Sausage, olive oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, fresh mushrooms, salt, dried oregano, dried basil, fennel seeds, petit diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
Making Tony’s Pasta:
I started by forming the the Italian sausage into 1-inch balls. Then I placed them on a baking sheet with sides, that I had lined with non-stick aluminum foil, and cooked them in the oven at 350º F for 30 minutes.
After I removed the meatballs from the oven, I drained them thoroughly on paper towels, and pressed each one between paper towels to remove as much grease as possible.
While the sausage was cooking in the oven, I heated a bit of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and cooked the onions and bell pepper for about 8 minutes, until the onions began to look transparent. Then, I added the garlic, and cooked the mixture for about 30 seconds more until the garlic was fragrant. Next, I added the mushrooms, and continued cooking the mixture for several minutes more.
Finally, I added the seasonings, tomatoes, and tomato paste, and stirred to combine everything. I thought that the sauce was too thick, so I added about a half a can of water to thin it out a bit.
I added the meatballs, covered the skillet and cooked the sauce over low heat for about an hour.
I tasted the sauce, and added a bit more salt. I served the sauce over Rotini with a freshly made baguette. Yum!
- 1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage casings removed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 14.5 ounce can petit diced tomatoes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- Parmesan cheese for garnish optional
- 16 ounces Rotini or other pasta cooked according to package directions
- Meatballs: Form Italian Sausage into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet with sides, lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Cook at 350º F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drain thoroughly on paper towels, pressing as much grease as possible from cooked meatballs.
- Sauce: Heat olive oil to a 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven. Add onions, and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat until onion begins to look transparent (8 to 10 minutes). Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds, or until garlic is fragrant. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the seasonings, petit diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. (If sauce is too thick add a small amount of water.) Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Add meatballs and cook over low heat for 30 minutes (or longer if desired). Correct seasonings.
- If desired, garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese
- Serve with pasta (rotini or ziti), a fresh baguette, a tossed green salad, and a light red wine such as Beaujolais.
Yield: 6 servings.
NOTE: This freezes well. The flavor improves if made the day before and reheated before serving.