Robin Garr wrote:I'm joining the Italian sausage choir, hot or mild, but it's got to have <i>some</i> chile flakes, and lots of fennel is mandatory. Some of the corporate commercial brands dumb it down, and that's not Italian. My favorite local food-specialty shop, Lotsa Pasta, makes an excellent version that I always keep frozen as one of my go-to staples for a quick meal. Cut one up - no need to thaw - cook 'em in their own fat with onions and green peppers, throw in a little fresh tomato sauce from the garden (or the same frozen in the off season). throw it over penne or other short pasta, and dinner is done.
Hey, know another cool way to enjoy sausage and pasta? I grew up on Italian food at an L.A. institution called Little Joe's, it was just down the hill from Dodger Stadium--Tommy Lasorda practically lived there. Anyway, there were lots of "off the menu" ways to order food there, and one of my favorites was their spaghetti served with a patty of fried Italian sausage--they'd just peel off the skin, flatten it with a fork (so it would have lots of crispy high and tender low points) and pan fry, then put that on the plate and heap the pasta with marinara sauce alongside. I remember loving how the sausage was half buried and half exposed--little foodie in training that I was, I thought this was ingenious design, so used was I to my mother's three-plop everything-separate presentations--and I make the dish myself these days from time to time.