Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fast from the Freezer

My pantry and freezer are an embarrassment. Periodically I get a notion to completely clean out and organize, and it lasts for about a week, until things just get tossed in, in a hurry, creating an avalanche waiting to happen. The good news is that my pantry and freezer are ridiculously well stocked with many important items; puff pastry, frozen veggies, leftovers, butter, jams and jellies, several different kinds of grains and flour, ethnic sauces and spices and the list goes on. The bad news is that I frequently cannot find the item I require for a recipe, so I need to go out and buy a new one, thus contributing to the overall over-stuffing.

But one thing that I can almost always count on is that I will have dried pasta of some sort in my pantry, and Italian sausage and tomatoes or tomato sauce (leftover from cans that I had previously opened) in my freezer. A few cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh or dried basil, and a glug of wine (well for the pot and one for you) are all you need to complete the dinner. It is a real life saver for those nights when I don't want to cook, or I don't have time to. And what's more, it tastes delicious too.

Tomato and Sausage Pasta Sauce

4 links uncooked, spicy turkey Italian sausage (or any kind of Italian sausage)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, whole plum tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes
1 small (14 oz) can of tomato sauce
2 T tomato paste (optional...I like to have some in a tube in my fridge for when recipes require small amounts)
1 T finely chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1 t dried
2 glasses of good quality red wine

Remove sausage from casing and brown on medium high heat in large dutch oven, breaking up sausage with a spatula. When sausage is cooked through, add garlic. Cook garlic, along with the sausage for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add tomatoes (in my freezer I found 4 small bags of tomatoes...various types) and basil and stir to combine. Pour one glass of wine into the sauce, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Pour another glass of wine for yourself and drink while relaxing and waiting for dinner to be done. Serve sauce over pasta (tonight I found some Penne in my pantry, but spaghetti, fettucini, bow ties or any thicker pasta works well--i.e. not angel hair.) Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

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