When it comes to this penne pasta with spicy sausage ragu recipe, we aren't just cheating a little, were cheating all over the place. Thanks to two simple shortcuts, this recipe is nothing more than a basic "brown and simmer." Really, that's it – brown and simmer. Oh, you do have to boil some penne pasta, but I think you can find a way to work that into your busy schedule.
First of all, we're using ready-made marina sauce. Ideally, this is from a batch of homemade you whipped up after watching this video, but if not, I used a jar of Barilla, and you are free to do the same, guilt-free. Using a prepared sauce excuses you from the kind of mincing and dicing that can often turn a meal like this into a call to the local pizzeria.
The second, and most ingenious cheat is using spicy Italian sausage instead of plain old ground meat. Any decent brand should be packed with an array of spices, herbs, and garlic that traditionally accompanies the pork into the casing. Think about it; if you like the flavor of the Italian sausage you usually buy, then I'm thinking you'd like the flavor of this ragu.
I usually start this in a dry, cold saucepan, and cook over medium heat until it's ready for the wet ingredients. If your sausage seems particularly lean, you can toss in a glug of olive oil to get things going. Conversely, if there seems to be lots of grease in the pan, simply drain some off before continuing the sauce.
Of course, with all the options for different kinds of sauces and types of sausage, it goes without saying that you can embellish this a hundred different ways, and I hope you do. Who says cheaters never win? Enjoy!
Penne Pasta with Spicy Sausage Ragu Ingredients:
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 tablespoon freshly minced parsley, optional
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups (1 jar) marinara sauce
1 cup water (rinse the jar)
1/4 cup cream
14.5 oz dry penne pasta
View the complete recipe