This recipe is for when your stomach is grumbling at you to make tasty food QUICK-STAT. I always have tinned plum tomatoes handy in my pantry, this with some garlic and olive oil is the backbone of many delicious tomato based sauces that can make anyone happy. This super simple sauce can be tossed into freshly cooked pasta, served in a big bowl with some crusty bread & olive oil, or poured over some creamy polenta on a big ‘ol wooden board to be shared with a bunch of hungry sailors for all you like, it’s THAT accommodating.
The most important thing is that you get a decent sausage… What I mean by this is don’t go buying hot dog sausages, or any kinda nasty processed franken-weenie from the depths of your supermarket freezer. These sausages aren’t even food in my books, and if it was up to me they would all have huge warning labels on them to tell you that they probably cause things like infertility, hair loss, and maybe the extra arm or tail. What you want is a sausage that has no chemical additives, and that has been made by a butcher, not a factory. What’s even better is if you can get your hands on some Italian style pork sausages (salsiccia) with fennel or anise as the main seasoning. If you like spice, go ahead and get some sausages with chilli in them!
I made this for someone who is somewhat of a tomato sauce connoisseur, penne al arrabiata is his number one favourite food in the whole Universe, so the tomato-y taste had to be the number one thing that shone through the sauce. So what do I do? I use nothing but tomato, garlic and olive oil. The quality of your ingredients will be what breathes life into such a simple sauce. Choose high quality tinned tomatoes: my favourite brands are Mutti, Baresi, Cento San Marzano, Pompi, Nina San Marzano, Pugliese, and Sclafani, depending on where I am in the world. The method below will give you the know-how to make a sugo that is gently sweet, bright with a hint of acid, and supremely tomato-y in flavour without tasting dull and muddy from too much tomato paste (which often happens when you’re trying to make something taste super tomato-y and you over-do it with the paste). I don’t use onion in this sauce because I don’t think it needs it… sometimes the less ingredients the better.
Sugo di Salsiccia e Pomodoro (serves 2)
You will need:
1 can of good quality, whole tomatoes (check the date of when it was canned, the fresher the better)
2 tsp good quality tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, skins removed, sliced into disks
extra light olive oil for cooking
2-3 Italian style sausages or good quality chipolatas if you can’t find Italian
extra virgin olive oil
good parmesan or pecorino cheese
Heat about 3tbsp of the light olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, use your fingers to push out cherry sized pieces of sausage meat from their casing. Discard the sausage skins and stir the sausage meatballs around the pan to seal and brown them slightly. Throw in the garlic to sweat for about 45seconds without letting them brown. When they start to look translucent, pour in the tin of tomatoes and add enough water into the can to loosen any tomato stuck on the walls, then pour the liquid straight into the pan (about 1/4cup I guess). Using your spoon, squish the whole tomatoes into small chunks and bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste and stir. Simmer in the pan for 5-10mins until the mixture starts to look more homogenous and the sauce thickens a little. Season to taste with sea salt, and perhaps the tiniest amount of raw sugar if you think the sauce is too tart, but make sure you don’t over-do the sugar – it only takes like 1/4tsp to balance the acidity. Take off the heat while you cook your pasta / cut your bread / make your polenta / or prepare whatever you plan to serve with this sauce.
Serve with a good amount of grated parmesan or pecorino and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.