Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sausage and Mushroom Spaghetti

Pasta sauce made with Italian sausage is rich and wonderfully savory. Simmering it with mushrooms, red wine, Worcestershire, and a little sugar adds depth and complexity in taste—not preparation.

I used canned crushed tomatoes for this recipe, but, of course, there’s no real substitute for homemade tomato sauce. If you have time to make it, go for that instead. Whichever you use, this simple pasta dinner is warm, welcoming, and very satisfying.

Note: Six ounces of spaghetti may not sound like much for four servings, but thin pasta goes a long way, and whole wheat is especially hearty.

Whole-Wheat Thin Spaghetti
Serves 4

  • 6 oz whole-wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Sweet Italian Sausages
Sauce Ingredients
  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat another pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking into small pieces, until just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the garlic and onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and most of the liquid is absorbed, 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light simmer and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Return the sausage and any accumulated juices to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 30 minutes. (The sauce should be fairly thick.)
  6. Add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and toss to combine.
Sausage Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Sausage
Garlic and Onion
Mushrooms Added
Tomato Mixture Added
Cooked Sauce 
Spaghetti Added to Sauce
To serve, divide the pasta and sauce among 4 shallow bowls. Pass Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table, for grating. 

Sausage and Mushroom Spaghetti


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