Heavenly Penne with Creamy Dijon Sausage Sauce

2014-10-07
  • Servings : 4-5
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 25m
  • Ready In : 30m

A Recipe with Roots in the Great British Rain

I first tried a version of this recipe when our family lived in England. The original recipe can be found in Nigel Slater’s fabulous cookbook, Real Food. Nigel Slater is one of my favorite creative people on earth.  Another great British chef, you ask? Yes! There are so many. Britain, once known for their bland cuisine, has positively taken over the cooking cavalry. It won’t be the first time in history when we have asked ourselves how such a tiny little island could become so dominant.  

There are many reasons why Britain conquered the world. Perhaps all that rain has something to do with it. Rain causes people to sit indoors and think things through. The British climate contributes to this great cream sauce.  Rain produces great grass, grass feeds great cows, cows produce great cream, and great cream makes this pasta sauce taste absolutely fantastic. Cream, milk, cheese and butter are a huge source of pride for British dairy farmers, and our family knew we were going to miss these heavenly assets when we moved back to America in 2005.

(This recipe is based on Nigel’s recipe. He adds a cup of sliced fresh basil, which you can certainly add, and omits the garlic. Nigel uses grain Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes, I used plain Dijon.  I also heap with Parmesan cheese at the table.)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound De Cecco pasta (a short, nubby shape like penne or rigatoni will be great for stabbing onto a hunk of creamy sausage)
  • 1 pound of outstanding sausage (Jake’s Country Meats, Enzo’s Restaurant, or other simple, organic sausage) Buy the sausage loose if you can, which will save you time cutting open the casings to sauté in pan
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (a one pint container of Dean's or even better, go Organic Valley!)
  • 1 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc because I like to drink it while I cook. Use any white wine.)
  • 4 cloves (+/-) chopped garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard (Maille brand is great.)
  • Optional:  freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste/chopped fresh basil.

Fun links for this recipe and story: 

Today’s  culinary hero:  http://www.nigelslater.com/

Enzo’s Restaurant to call and order sausage for shipment: http://enzos1.com/  Tell Kyle Hallberg, my fabulous nephew, or Lisa Hallberg, my favorite sister, that Renata’s Kitchen sent ya.

Jake’s Country Meats for free range sausage (they drop at farmer’s markets in suburban Chicago):  http://www.jakescountrymeats.com/

4 Reasons why Britain conquered the world (but Chicago won my heart…teehee!)http://kenbaker.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/4-reasons-why-britain-conquered-the-world/

Method

Step 1

Put a huge pot of water on to boil your pasta and add plenty of salt before cooking. Now prepare your sauce.

Step 2

In a large pan, break up one pound of sausage meat and cook through. Add chopped garlic, and sauté a moment.  Add mustard, white wine, and cook so liquid simmers with small bubbles, about five minutes. Let the heavenly aroma hit your senses.

Step 3

Stir in cream and simmer (again, the sauce should form fine bubbles on top) until sauce is thickened to the way you like it, about 15 minutes, depending on the brand of cream you are using. While you wait for your sauce to thicken, this is a good time to drop your pasta and boil.

Step 4

You can walk away from the sauce and stir occasionally, just don’t let the heat go so high that it boils over.  In about 10 minutes or so (it really depends on the wildly varying thickness of cream you choose—organic will be thicker and require less cooking time, regular cream or light cream will be even thinner so you will need to cook longer). The creamy liquid will reduce down by about a third or maybe more and you will be left with a lovely, thick, creamy, consistency. 

Step 5

Drain pasta and pour thick, creamy sausage sauce on top and stir through. Dig your boulders of sausage and proudly display them on top of your bowl of pasta in triumphant taste victory.  Add freshly grated Parmesan and a little chopped fresh basil if you like.  

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Meet Renee Gough; writer, food enthusiast..

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