Unless you’re already in Perugia or planning to get there one day, you might want to look away now. There again, you might be someone who makes their own to-die-for sausages, in which case please read on. You’ll see what I mean in a moment…
I invented this recipe one night pretty much to suit the size of our kitchen at the apartment in Via Elce di Sotto. Time and inspiration abound when it comes to cooking in Italy. My issue is space. But here’s the thing. While it only has three ingredients and could not be simpler (or more delicious if sausages are even vaguely your thing), this recipe ticks the locavore box too. Which is great, but only if you’re in Perugia. You see the essential ingredient – the one key element that lets you do away with the olive oil, the seasoning, the cipolla, basilico, vino, even the chopping board – has but one source: Perugia’s King of Butchers (my accolade), the venerable Macelleria Rinaldo Gerbi.
See the problem?
Pasta con Salsiccia e Pomodoro
Still, when you are in Perugia, here’s what you’ll need to make the best Pasta with Fresh Sausage and Tomato you’ve ever had. Serves 2 hungry people:
300g pasta corta. I love De Cecco ‘Sedanini’ no. 61. Meaning ‘small celery’, the shape is somewhere between penne and rigatoni and just right for this dish.
400g polpa di pomodoro. For Italian tinned crushed tomatoes, Mutti is my favourite brand. You can find it downstairs at my grocer of choice in Perugia, Il Parma in via dei Priori, and in lots of other local supermarkets as well I expect.
2 x Salsiccie di Maiale (fresh pork sausages) strictly from Macelleria Rinaldo Gerbi right in the centre of town at Piazza Matteotti 13, just a couple of doors up from the Chiesa del Gesu’.
And trust me, the shopping really is the hardest part.
1. Skin the sausages by slitting the skins with a serrated knife that has been heated over the gas jet for a moment or two.
2. Heat a saucepan and tip in the sausage meat over a low flame. Let that cook pian piano for a bit . You won’t need oil or any additional seasoning. It’s all already there. Like magic really.
3. Let the sausage meat brown a little more and add the polpa di pomodoro. Keep the sauce simmering gently over a low flame.
4. About now you can toss the pasta into your pot of lightly salted boiling water. Sedanini take about 12 minutes which is perfect. When the pasta is al dente, the sauce is ready too.
5. Drain the pasta, mix in the sauce and serve. A sprinkle of grated pecorino is an extra nice touch for me. Marabella prefers hers without. Veditela tu.
And needless to say, Buon Appetito!
To be fair you can always try this recipe with the best Italian sausages you can find. I haven’t risked it though.
PS: I think the best food experiences when you’re travelling turn out to be the ones you least expect. Sometimes you have to get home again and start to feel the cravings before you really understand what you miss eating the most. Do you have one Italy food memory you’d jump on a plane tomorrow to relive? Just leave a comment to let me know. I’d love to hear from you.