15 November 2008

Comfort in a bowl

I really like dinner in a bowl. There's something so wonderful about having a steaming bowl of something in front of you, the scent drifting up to your nose, warming and readying your taste buds for what's to come. Soup falls into this category. As does soy chicken, for sure, renamed "dinner in a bowl" by my college roomates. But pasta is it's own special category, especially if it's the sauce that you've been making, and that your mother has been making for what seems like, oh, the time you were five.

Italian Sausage sauce just seems to run in the family. We all loved it: bold flavors, spice, salt, pasta. Peppers softly melting and melding into a greater being, but with enough acidity to have their own personality, with the heat of the sausage and the tomato richness of the sauce. And what kid doesn't love pasta? I mean, please, people. I started making it for myself when I went to college. It's an easy sauce to make, and to love.

Mom no longer uses the Hunt's tomato sauce--she and my father are (rightly) trying to watch their salt intake, but I can't make myself let go. Mom now will use Muir Glen tomato sauce, or will used crushed tomatoes, but I think it alters the taste, consistency, and the memory of what we're eating.

Because surely, holding tight to a recipe is nostalgia, and comfort, at it's finest. It is around my house, at least.

Italian Sausage Sauce

2 hot Italian sausages, preferably from the butcher counter
2 bell peppers, red, green or other
1 large can Hunt's tomato sauce
a very generous pinch Italian seasoning, to taste
1 teaspoon (or more) chili flakes

1. Attractively slice your peppers into bite-sized pieces. Sauté in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add your sausages, turn heat up a half notch. Break up sausages with a spoon into bite-sized pieces; cook until no longer pink at all.
2. Pour in your tomato sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add spices, as well as pepper (and salt, should you wish, but the Hunt's is very salty to begin with, so go easy; I don't use any extra at all). Simmer for an hour.
3. Serve over pasta of choice.

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