The caramelized surface of browned Italian sausage links allows you to eliminate added salt from your spaghetti sauce, while the sausage's sweet anise and fennel seed and the zesty red pepper flakes give the dish a punch of flavor. Serve smaller-diameter Italian sausages whole, atop a pile of spaghetti Bolognese, or cut them into 1-inch chunks for puttanesca. Slow-cook the sauce or make it on the stove top, pour it over spaghetti and Italian sausage and serve as-is or bake it first.
Italian Sausage Medallions
Bring 3 quarts of chicken stock, one fifth of good-quality sherry, three sprigs of rosemary and two bay leaves to a rolling boil on medium-high heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add 1 lb. of uncooked spaghetti and return the liquid to a rolling boil and cook until it is al dente.
Place the second stock pot in the sink and place the colander on top. Allow the pasta water to drain into the second stock pot. Return the spaghetti to the first stock pot and set it aside, off the heat, while you prepare the Italian sausages. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs.
Heat a 12-inch-diameter saute pan for one minute on medium-high. Add 2 tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil and heat for one additional minute before adding the Italian sausages to the pan. Saute the sausages until the entire surface browns.
Place paper towels on a serving platter. Remove the sausages from the saute pan to drain on the paper towels.
Pour any excess sausage grease into the spaghetti and toss it several times to ensure that it is evenly distributed. Return the saute pan to the heat and add in the onions. Stir the onions occasionally until they turn translucent before adding the bell peppers and garlic cloves.
Dice the Roma tomatoes and add them to the saute pan with the onions, peppers and garlic. Add 1 cup of pasta water and simmer, covered, until the tomatoes turn to sauce, about 20 minutes.
Slice the sausages into 1/2-inch-thick medallions and add them to the sauce. Stir until they are completely coated. Serve 1/2 cup of Italian sausage and sauce over 1 cup of spaghetti noodles, along with a garden salad made from Romaine lettuce, baby spinach and radicchio dressed with red wine and canola oil. Make garlic toast from a split loaf of French bread brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with garlic powder and black pepper.
Crumbled Italian Sausage Spaghetti Bake
Prepare 1 lb. of cooked spaghetti as in Steps 1 and 2 of Section 1. Cut raw Italian sausages open and peel away the skins. Saute the sausage with 2 tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil until it is well-browned.
Drain off any excess grease and add 1 cup of onions. Saute until the onions are translucent.
Add the bell pepper and garlic cloves and saute until the bell pepper softens. Toss in the Roma tomatoes, add 1 cup of pasta water and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes and remove from heat.
Cover the bottom of the glass casserole dish with Italian-sausage spaghetti sauce. Alternate layers of spaghetti with cheese and sauce, saving the asiago for topping. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F until the cheese melts.
Serve baked Italian-sausage spaghetti with garden salad and garlic toast.
Slow-Cooked Italian Sausage Sauce
Fill the slow-cooker two-thirds full with chopped Roma tomatoes and diced bell peppers.
Brown the Italian sausages whole or skin them first, as desired. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Pour the Italian sausage and onion mixture over the tomatoes.
Cover and slow-cook on high for two to three hours. Prepare 1 lb. of cooked spaghetti as in Steps 1 and 2 of Section 1 15 minutes before the sauce finishes cooking. Drain the spaghetti and place a 1-cup portion on each plate. Serve with the slow-cooked Italian-sausage spaghetti sauce.