Pasta with a sauce of yellow tomatoes and hot and sweet sausage

A couple of weeks ago, after I reviewed an excellent Tuscan red made by the tenor Andrea Bocelli in my NBCNews.com column , a number of readers asked if I could provide a recipe for the pasta dish I had with the wine. I use yellow tomatoes when available for this sauce because I like their lower acidity and their sweetness, but I have also enjoyed this dish many times with red tomatoes, both fresh and canned, so feel free to substitute them.


½ pound sweet Italian pork sausage
½ pound hot Italian pork sausage
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Small bunch of Italian parsley chopped
2 pounds of yellow or red tomatoes, cored, broken apart by hand or coarsely chopped
1 pound penne, fusilli or other pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese


Spoon the olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, preferably cast iron. Add sausage (if sausage is in casings squeeze the meat out). Over low to medium heat, break sausage into small pieces with a wooden spatula and cook for 10 minutes or so, tossing frequently, until nicely browned but not burned. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and stir with onions and sausage until golden. Add tomatoes and mix thoroughly with other ingredients. Use the spatula to break the tomatoes apart. Cook over a low flame, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Remove cover. Break tomatoes apart more with spatula if needed. Simmer 10-15 minutes more until tomatoes have cooked down and sauce has thickened. Stir in parsley. Toss with penne, fusilli or your favorite pasta and top with grated Parmesan. Serves 4.


Sips: La Quercia’s 2010 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

I am always on the hunt for juicy, fruit-forward Italian reds, the kind I can pop open on the spur of the moment to enjoy with pasta, pizza or other casual foods. One that really over-delivers for $11 or so is a red from the Abruzzo region, La Quercia’s 2010 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

This is a relatively soft, easy-drinking casual wine that’s made from the native montepulciano grape without oak and is all about the fruit – blackberry and blueberry tastes with a hint of unsweetened chocolate on the finish. When you breathe it in, it fills the nose with these dark fruit aromas. It’s delicious on its own and, as I said, is a versatile wine for all kinds of Italian and other dishes at a price that can’t be beat.

Imported by August Wine Group, Seattle, Washington. Received as a press sample.