I love dishes with tomato sauces and there are weeks when it seems that tomato can easily make its way into each and every one of our meals. There are some dishes for which I can make a larger batch of tomato sauce, that I can then ration accordingly and refrigerate or freeze for future use. This sausage ragu came about from some tomato sauce I had saved upon making this Chicken Stuffed with Trahanas, but I also provide a quick recipe for the same sauce below.
Nothing fancy here; just a simple sauce with some sweet Italian sausage served over ziti. An ideal weeknight meal that pairs well with a green salad ... and a glass of red wine, of course.
Small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Grated kefalotyri, pecorino Romano or parmesan
1 lb. of ziti
1/3 to 1/2 cup of the pasta water (in case sauce needs to be thinned)
In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Once browned, remove the sausage to a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Saute the onion until soft. Stir in the garlic, oregano and the red pepper flakes. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar, reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the sausage to the sauce and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in half the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, boil the ziti in a large pot of salted water until just cooked through. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water in case you need to thin out your sauce. Drain the pasta well. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and heat until the butter is brown and nutty. Stir in the pasta and toss to coat. Divide pasta among plates and top with the sausage ragu. Sprinkle with parsley, grated cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.