Salsice Pasta Rustico Recipe
This delicious hearty pasta dish is perfect for summer, using fresh heirloom tomatoes and garden peppers and herbs. The savory Italian sausages are complemented by the fresh summer vegetables, all prepared on a grill. A spicy kick gives a perfect finish to this pasta. This meal uses similar ingredients to Penne alla Norma, so if you have any vegetarians dining with you, that dish would be a good alternative for them.
Salsice Pasta Rustico
serves three to four
- 1/2 pound dried penne pasta
- 4 Spicy Italian sausages
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 small yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Romano cheese to top it
1. Prepare a grill for grilling. This recipe lends itself well to a charcoal or gas grill--a wood fire is too smoky and would overpower the delicate flavors.
2. While the grill is heating, boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot and cook pasta as specified on the package.
3. While the pasta is boiling, peel and finely mince the onion, peel and crush the garlic, and combine the two with the salt, red pepper, and olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat (medium low on a gas stove). Sauté the onion mixture until the onions become translucent, then set the pan aside.
4. Wash, core, and quarter the peppers. Wash the tomatoes.
5. Once the grill is hot, place the sausages, pepper quarters, and whole tomatoes on the grill. The tomatoes and peppers should be over direct flame. When cooking sausage, it is usually a good idea to shut the grill to ensure that the sausage cooks evenly and all the way through. The tomatoes and pepper should have blackened skin. Carefully rotate the tomatoes to cook on both sides--they will start to fall apart towards the end.
6. While the sausage and vegetables are grilling, drain the pasta and combine it in the pot or a large bowl with the fresh herbs, the olive oil, and the cooked onion mixture. Stir it well to insure that the pasta does not stick together.
7. Once the grilling is complete, chop the sausage links into rounds and add it to the pasta. Peel off the blackened skin from the peppers and tomatoes. Chop the peppers and add to the pasta. Squeeze the tomatoes in a strainer or colander to remove excess moisture and seeds (or run them through a food mill). Mash the tomato pulp, making sure to remove any stems or cores. Add the mashed, drained pulp to the pasta.
8. Making sure that the pasta is hot, add the ricotta cheese and stir gently so that it incorporates into the mixture without breaking up the pasta.
9. Garnish with parsley and fresh grated Romano cheese and serve immediately. This dish would go very well with a robust Italian red wine.