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A variation on the popular spaghetti dinner

This dish is meant to inspire the everyday dinner table. Instead of spaghetti and meatballs, which everybody loves, we’ve take some ingredients from our pantry and market to put together a quick supper. We’ve got so many great local butchers in the area making their own sausage. A quick trip to the market and we found sausage, leeks and mushrooms at this time of year. It’s not the time for a summery-fresh tomato sauce, but one that is rather rich in flavour – we get that by using fresh thyme. San Marzano tomatoes come from Italy and are given the government guarantee stamp of approval.  They are some of the best canned tomatoes to use when our local summer tomatoes are not available.  A bit pricier for one can, but worth it for flavour.

Parmiggiano reggiano is good quality parmesan cheese. Romano or asiago are great cheese to use as well.

By drizzling the whole dish with extra virgin olive oil after it is cooked, you get the flavour and aroma of the olive oil, plus the pasta dish as a whole becomes moister.  Slice sausage into rounds;
In a large skillet, heat a little canola oil over medium-high heat;
When pan is nice and hot, add sausage and brown well on both sides;
Remove sausage and set aside; remove excess fat from pan, but leave a good coating on the bottom of the pan;
Add all the mushrooms along with about 3-4 tablespoons of water. Cook, over medium heat, undisturbed for about 6-7 minutes, or until water is evaporated;
Stir in leeks and garlic and cook a few minutes;
Crush tomatoes lightly with your hand  and then add to pan; return sausage to pan and simmer for about 10 minutes;
Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente (still has a bit of a bite to it);
Once pasta is cooked, strain and toss immediately with sauce (do not rinse – rinsing pasta removes all of the starch and doesn’t allow the sauce to stick to it);
Serve immediately with parmesan cheese to sprinkle at the table, and extra virgin olive oil to drizzle atop the pasta.

Penne with Local Sausage, Leek and Crispy Mushroom and San Marzano Tomato Sauce

  • 1 lb, or about 4 sausages
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • 1 lb, or about 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 leeks, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, stem removed and chopped
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes, or other good quality canned tomatoes
  • 500g package of penne pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil and parmiggiano reggiano, to serve

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