It’s not actually a secret, and it’s not really a family recipe, exactly. In fact, I think the original version came from Bon Appetit, I can’t find it now, so we must have changed it up along the way. My Uncle Walt made it for the first time I think, and it has spread like wild fire. I shared it with my college roommate Alison when she lived in Texas, and it made its way through Texas, and she would call me all the time and tell me that one of her other friends was making it in Colorado or Montana, or Detroit or something, and then she moved to Virginia so now it is making its merry way around there. Plus my whole family makes it, and now good old Meredith makes it. I am telling you, this is going to take over the world…rightfully so, it’s delicious.
Looks innocent enough, doesn’t it? Harmless? Benign? Maybe even ho hum? But I am telling you now, there is something about this pasta. The masses love it. It is quick and easy, filling, delicious and perfect for a weeknight. This is tame enough that it won’t scare children, and delicious and exciting enough for adults. Basically, make this. You won’t be sorry.
It starts out easily enough…
Sweet italian sausage, a can of whole peeled tomatoes, heavy cream, garlic, onion and crushed red pepper. Add a pound of Farfalle pasta and dinner is served.
Start with olive oil, onion, garlic and red pepper in a saute pan.
As you are doing that, boil the water for the pasta. The onion and garlic should get soft, but not burn. When that happens, remove the casings from the sausage and add them to the pan, breaking them into pieces with the back of the spoon. Let the sausage start to brown, stirring occasionally.
Drain a large can of whole peeled tomatoes, and run a knife through them to break them into a few pieces before they go into the pan. Once the sausage is cooked mostly through and starting to brown, add the tomatoes to the pan, and break them into pieces with the back of the spoon. Let the sausage and tomatoes cook over medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down into a sauce. You want to start cooking the pasta at this point, so if the water hasn’t boiled yet, turn the heat under the sauce down to low and let it simmer at a low temperature until the water catches up. If you are trying to prepare some of this a bit ahead of time, this is the place to stop. Once you have added the cream you want to serve fairly quickly.
Once the tomatoes have broken down into a sauce (there should still be chunks of tomato…they are my favorite part, but the sauce will have come together and become more sauce like) add the cream and turn the heat to low. Let it cook for five minutes or so, until the cream melds with the tomatoes and sausage to be a creamy delicious creaminess.
Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce, and then serve. So so good.
This takes about a half hour tops. It is a great fall/winter comforty pasta dish.
Bowtie Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream (serves 4-6 or two, depending on the day)
2 tbls olive oil
1 small/medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
crushed red pepper flakes to your liking
1 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 28 (ish) oz can whole peeled tomatoes, liquid drained
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb farfalle pasta
Parmesan to serve if you wish.
Boil a pot of salted water, and cook the pasta al dente. Heat the olive oil in a deep sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic and onions are soft and starting to brown just a little bit, 3 minutes or so. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the sausage and break into small pieces with the back of a spoon. The sausage should be the size of a large grape perhaps. Let the sausage cook almost all the way through and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. If the sausage renders a lot of fat, feel free to pour some off, they goal is not a greasy sauce. Once the sausage begins to brown, add the drained tomatoes, and break them up with a knife or spoon as well. Let the tomatoes cook down, stirring occasionally, until they become sauce like, 8 minutes or so. Turn the heat down to low, add the cream, salt and pepper, and cook until the sauce comes together, about five minutes. Add the drained pasta to the pot, stir the sauce and pasta together, and serve, sprinkling with fresh parmesan if you would like. Enjoy!