Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Change is in the air. We are moving house in a week, and while it’s a local move, it still requires dismantling a life, glass by glass, book by book. Our belongings are wrapped and boxed in ambiguous cartons that creep along and up the walls, towering over the furniture with an insistency that precludes denial. In a week our life will be unpacked in a new home and environment, our belongings liberated and rapidly arranged then rearranged to produce a new vignette. For now, the dust bunnies and memories swirl about, gathering in corners and getting in our heads. And our dog is behaving strangely. I think she is hoping and fearing that she will also be packed.

Change is cathartic. It’s also unsettling. For all of the moving we’ve done in our family life, you would think this would be a piece of cake – the next step in our family adventure. Is it because I am older now? Or perhaps it’s because the children are older, fully aware and present in this move, packing their belongings and looking forward to our next step in their teenaged lives – a time which guarantees uncertainty with or without a move. I see how they watch me and listen to my words and mood, using me as a measure, while secretly I watch them back, feeling curious and just a little guilty about this event. After all, I am their mother.

So I reflect on our previous moves, from one country to another, to languages I would have yet to learn, searching for homes and a community to insert myself and my family into. This time we are simply moving zip codes, but this move has its baggage, too. So, today I will do what I do best and what has always served us well. I will cook a comforting and nourishing family meal, and we will share it for dinner as we sit together at our well traveled kitchen table.

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add garlic, red pepper, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

8 responses to “Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

  1. Best of luck with the move, Lynda – meanwhile, comfort food meals will help you and your family deal with the upcoming change of house.

  2. What a beautiful post, Lynda. Really beautiful. I’ve moved around a lot in my adult life, and the images you created and the feelings you reminded me of here really resonated with me. Even with your dog. When I moved a number of years ago, and my dog was only about 3 years old, I made numerous trips in my car moving my belongings up from South Bay. At some point I started bringing my dog, but when we got to the new place, she wouldn’t get out of the car. I realized she was afraid of being left. She saw the boxes go into my car, and then I left. When I returned, the boxes were gone. That’s all she knew. When she finally got out of the car, then she insisted on laying across my feet while I was unpacking boxes. She wasn’t taking any chances. I hope your move goes smoothly. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!

  3. Looks delicious! :)

  4. Wonderful and so comforting!

    All the best with the move.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. mariannebush

    Good luck with your move, Lynda. The upheaval is always unsettling (literally), but it is also so much fun to start a new adventure. Funny, I am making Italian Sausage soup as I write this. I guess we’re all looking for some comforting food while the wind is howling outside.

  6. Good luck with the move! It’s been years since we moved, so I can only imagine. Great looking pasta here.

  7. oh yum! i love how simple and easy you made this! thanks so much for the recipe, looking forward to making this! :)

  8. I want to crawl right into this picture and slurp the longest noodle I can find off of this delicious looking plate.