Growing up my mom used to take me to our local family Italian restaurant. You know the ones… Red vinyl seats, black and white checkered tablecloths, and no pretentious dishes on the menu. Petrini’s is the place you went for the homey atmosphere, the staff that has been working there for years and knows your order by heart (even after a 10-year absence), and good simple food.
I remember exactly what I would get… Lunch Special: Piccolo pepperoni pizza and the Numbero Duo salad with their house Italian dressing. Every time my mom comes to visit we have to have lunch at Petrini’s. It’s a tradition… and we don’t mess with tradition!!
Later I learned that my best friend, Rachel, also grew up with her mom taking her there! So we go occasionally for a girls night, but I really hope she takes her kids there as they grow up! Let’s pass on the love to the next generation!! I know I will when the time comes.
Sometimes when life gets hectic, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of pasta covered in flavorful sauce to make things right. It’s been a long day, you’ve busted your tooshy, and then you come home to this bowl of liveliness. What I love about this dish is that it’s packed with lots of flavors that are spicy and bright.
With the spices in the Italian sausage and the mounds of garlic and basil that I add into the sauce makes me so happy! Although there’s plenty of spices in the sausage, I can’t get enough basil. Basil is so bright and adds such great flavors to pasta and sauces.
When adding Italian sausage to my sauce I like to take it out of the casing and ground it up into tiny pieces. This really distributes the sausage throughout the sauce and adds even flavor. Although feel free to cook it up more chunky or cut up while in the casing if you’d like!! No judgment here!
I like to make a basic marinara sauce then spice it up with more garlic, red chili flakes, garlic, rosemary, garlic… Can you tell that I love garlic?? It’s so good and makes me happy. Although a romantic Italian dinner always ends with me having anti-vampire breath… Oh well!
Although you can also throw in any veggies that you want to sneak into your meals to offset the pasta (yeah right!), or to make sure the kids get their veggies without them knowing! I leave it to you!
Simply Classic Pasta
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Total Time: 30 min.
- ½ Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1 14 oz can of stewed chopped tomatoes
- 1 2 oz can of tomato paste
- 2 TBSP of Olive Oil
- 3 cloves of garlic (or more!), minced
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of red chili flakes (you take the reins on this!)
- 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar (to deglaze the pan after cooking up the Italian sausage
- 3 links of spicy Italian sausage (uncased)
- 4 TBSP of Italian seasoning (oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme)
- 1 lb pasta (I used linguine, but anything works)
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- Set a big pot of salted water to boil.
- Heat up a skillet with olive oil, and cook the Italian sausage until it’s cooked through and you have small pieces. Then take out of the skillet and deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinaigrette.
- Add the garlic and onions to the skillet and saute until opaque or caramelized if you want a sweeter flavor.
- Add the sausage back in along with the tomato paste and can of stewed tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes and bring to a simmer then cover and turn heat to low for another 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
- During this time, once water is boiling, drop the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, strain and toss with olive oil.
- Serve with sauce on top and enjoy!