Wine Stained Pasta with Sausage and Cauliflower

This dinner is the jam. Pasta will never be the same.

Brought to you by Mario Batali/The Chew and WINE.

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  • 2 pound sweet Italian sausage (casings removed) (I use about a ½ lb to 1 lb.)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 1 cup plus 4 liters inexpensive red wine
  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 ½ pound garganelli pasta (or 1 lb)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (I like Parm)
  1. Using your hands, form the sausage into balls about the size of almonds. In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add the sausage balls in two batches, and saute, rolling them around, until they are browned all over, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Remove, and set aside on a plate. (Personally, I just brown the sausage, then set it aside and add it to the pasta later. You don’t really need little meatballs unless you want them because they’re cute.)
  2. Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain off the fat, and add the 1 cup red wine to the cauliflower. Bring to a boil, and then add the tomato sauce and sausage balls. (For the tomato sauce, just add any sauce you have or make your own basic. I take a can of whole tomatoes in their sauce and add to a pot. I break up the tomatoes with a fork and add salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and one spoonful of sugar. Let boil for a few minutes, then if you like smoother sauce, which I do, I immersion blender the sauce. Add two cups, and just refrigerate or freeze any extra sauce for another day.)
  3. Bring to a boil again. Then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the 4 liters of red wine into a large pasta pot. Add the salt and 4 cups of water, and bring to a boil. (Aka, ¾-1 whole bottle of some cheap, red 2 buck Chuck–thanks Trader Joes!)
  5. Drop the garganelli (or another good shaped pasta, we used gemilli) into the boiling wine/water, and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle ½ cup of the cooking wine/water into the sausage mixture.
  6. Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the sausage mixture. Toss until pasta is nicely coated. Pour in a warming serving bowl and serve immediately, with CHEESE.

YUM!

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