This dinner is the jam. Pasta will never be the same.
Brought to you by Mario Batali/The Chew and WINE.
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Bring to a boil again. Then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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.