I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Pasta with sausage and saffron

I've been out of the blogging game for a couple of weeks. Work is busy, so during the week my blogging would be very boring unless you want to hear about bowls of cereal before bed or a plate of crackers, cheese, hummus and whatever else I can rustle up from the fridge (just like canapes, I like to tell myself).

Weekends, therefore, are prime cooking time. If I don't get a meal or two, or a post or two, in on a Saturday or Sunday, that's it until the next week. Last weekend, fortunately, was filled with fun. My brother and sister-in-law came for a visit. We walked around Central Park, took in the sights, explored my neighborhood. Friday night, we went to see American Idiot. I will happily admit that it was amazing. I take some small pride that despite it being on Broadway, I probably have a bit more street cred than most of the people in line (also a good few years on most of them. I had a head-in-hands moment when I told a staff member I was going to see the show and she told me that she remembered when their "first" album came out in fourth grade. Though having staff probably isn't very punk... But I digress). If anyone goes, look out for the "I Hella [heart] Berkeley" grafitti near the entrance.

Saturday night, we went to the local wine store and picked out a few good bottles. We put on music and cooked up a feast, singing and nibbling and generally having as good a time as one can without risking the wrath of the little old lady in the apartment next door.

This particular recipe was inspired by a similar dish I have made before, but that recipe was lost sometime since. Thank you, google: Foodandwine.com produced a sufficient substitute. Things I liked about this recipe included the slow-cooked onions and the addition of some pecorino at the end. Also, the fresh sage was an unexpected but delicious addition. (As a side note, why can't you buy just a sprig or two of fresh herbs? They are only ever sold in bunches, and I just cannot use an entire head of sage. But I discovered that it freezes well -- thank you again, google.) I can safely say that a good time and a good meal was had by all.

Pasta with sausage and saffron sauce

Large pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup hot water
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium/2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 lbs. Italian sausage, meat removed from the casings and crumbled
One 28-ounce can plus one 14-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, liquid reserved
3 Tbs. slivered sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lbs. malloreddus (I used cavatappi)
1/3 C. freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
3 Tbs. slivered basil leaves

Steep the saffron in the hot water. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.

Push the onions to the edge of the pan. Add the sausage meat and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, saffron water and sage, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes; whenever the sauce becomes very thick and begins to stick to the pan, stir in some of the reserved tomato liquid. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt, then add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the hot sauce; toss well. Stir in the 1/3 cup of grated Pecorino and the basil and serve, passing additional Pecorino at the table.

Serves a lot.

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