I’m talking about comfort foods 101 today.
We all have an idea of what we consider to be our ideal comfort food so I’m not here to convince you that pasta and sauce is the best comfort food ever (even if is 😉 ). The reality is that you’re probably like me and you have lots of favorite comfort foods, depending on the time of the year, time of day, or your mood at the moment.
I’ve made a variety of Italian sauce recipes. I love having variety, but my absolute favorite sauce is my Marinara Sauce and Italian Meat Sauce. They are essentially the same recipe, except one has meat and the other doesn’t (if that wasn’t obvious). I’ve been making those sauces for almost eight years now and nothing beats them. My husband agrees too.
I decided to take the marinara recipe and pump up the spice factor, so I switched to spicy Italian sausage and added crushed red pepper. Even though I lean towards vegetarian dishes, there are those rare moments where I crave meat. So here is one of those. This sauce has the perfect amount heat. Meaning that you can definitely taste that it’s spicy but it’s not spicy to the point that you need a tissue for your running nose.
I love to pile on the Parmesan cheese, but I kept it low key for these photos. Boy, that was hard to do but I wanted you to see the gorgeous sauce. Of course you can use whatever pasta you want. We love Rigatoni because the hole down the middle is big enough for sauce to get inside making it a spicy saucy splosion.
The sauce takes about an hour and half to make, but I promise you that it’s worth it. You don’t have to be at the stove watching it for the entire time so I don’t think it’s a big deal. You just need to make sure you’ve managed your time accordingly. For example, you might not want to start making this meal when you’re starving. Otherwise, you might nix the idea and call out for take-out food. 😉 I’m not speaking from experience or anything.
My only mistake in making this sauce (if you can call it a “mistake”) was that I did not make enough of it. At my husband’s request, I need to make it again ASAP and when I do I must double the batch. As you wish. 🙂 He likes to bring the leftovers into work for lunch.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Spicy Sausage and Pasta Recipe
(About 4 to 6 servings)
- 1 pound spicy sausage, with casings removed
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 glove of garlic, crushed
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) crushed tomatoes or petite cut diced tomatoes
- 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
- 1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pound pasta (I used Rigatoni pasta.)
- In a large pot, over Medium heat, cook the sausage, diced onion, and crushed garlic clove until well browned. Don’t forget to remove the casings from the sausage before cooking.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.
- Season with the sugar, basil leaves, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, parsley, and crushed red pepper.
- Simmer, covered for 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain it and set it aside.
- Top the pasta with as much sauce as you like and a tasty Italian cheese if you have some.
Adapted from: All Recipes
Here are some other fantastic Italian meals.