Bucatini with sausage & onions

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Food writer and cooking teacher Giuliano Hazan is a master at working out recipes that free the home cook from long hours over a hot stove. The evidence? His cookbook "Every Night Italian," offering around 120 recipes that take 45 minutes or less, makes a convincing case.

This recipe for bucatini with sausage and onions (bucatini con salsiccia e cipolla) guarantees pasta with a simple sauce in 30 minutes, start to finish. If you wish to make your own pork sausage (salsiccia de maiale), it will take only 5 minutes to mix, but you should plan to do it a day ahead to allow time for the sausage flavors to blend overnight.

Hazan, author of the previous best seller "The Classic Pasta Cookbook" (DK Publishing, 1993), comes from a fine tradition of Italian cooking -- his mother is Marcella Hazan, acclaimed writer of cookbooks on classic Italian cuisine.

In this preparation, savory sausage and sweet onions complement each other perfectly. Bucatini is a pasta with hollow, long strands, rather thicker than spaghetti.

Bucatini With Sausage and Onions

(Preparation and cooking 30 minutes start to finish)

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes

8 ounces homemade pork sausage (recipe follows) or plain pork sausage, casings removed

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound bucatini

12 to 15 fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Put the butter and onion in a 10- to 12-inch skillet or saute pan and place it over medium-low heat. Saute until the onion turns a light caramel color.

While the onion is sauteing, peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop them.

When the onion is done, add the sausage to the pan, crumbling it with your fingers. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sausage until it has lost its raw color and begins to brown lightly.

Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 4 quarts water and place it over high heat. Add the tomatoes to the sausage and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are reduced and all their liquid is evaporated.

When the water for the pasta is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and put in the pasta, stirring until it is completely submerged.

Coarsely chop the basil and add it to the sauce. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes and remove from the heat.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it and toss it with the sauce and add the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve at once.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Homemade Pork Sausage

(Preparation 5 minutes)

1 pound ground pork

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons dry white wine

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend before cooking or freezing.

Makes 1 pound sausage.

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