This recipe was named after my friend Todd, who essentially invented it AND “lent” me the apron I’m wearing and still have in my possession. When my wife, Julie, and I lived in Northern Indiana, BC (before children), we had dinner every Friday night with Todd and his wife Chrisi. We all pitched in no matter whose house, like a family, which we were. We drank wine, laughed and talked about EVERYTHING. It was always entertaining.
Some in the group were better cooks than others. Chrisi gained her Friday night “all time dishwasher” position when one Friday Todd asked her to take a green pepper to the grill and roast it. She was gone for a few minutes and returned proudly with a perfectly chopped pepper and said, “Now, how do I keep this from falling through the grate?” Perfect dishwasher.
At the time I was a mediocre cook, but under the tutelage of Todd, subscriptions to all the foodie magazines and much practice feeding my own family, I am now confident in the kitchen. The beauty of this “dudes” recipe is you pretty much can’t mess it up. No parsley? Use basil. No sausage? Make it vegetarian. Like red wine? Add some. You get the idea. Thanks Todd, for the apron, the recipe and the friendship.
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg
1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped (for garnish)
Heat large skillet over medium high heat and brown sausage, breaking up with the back of a spoon. Add mushrooms, garlic and onion and cook until softened, add a bit of olive oil if needed. Add tomatoes, simmer until thickened. Add cream and simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.
Toss pasta with sauce. Just before serving add a bit of nutmeg and the freshly chopped parsley.
Great with crusty bread and your favorite Beaujolais.
Alternate recipe: Omit the cream and nutmeg and add second can of tomatoes and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to taste. A little veal stock paste is always wonderful as well.
David Bird teaches humanities in Savannah, Ga. When not in the classroom, you will most likely find him doing projects for his creative wife, Julie, trying to answer increasingly complicated questions on biology, religion or the meaning of life from his six-year-old son, Liam, or just snuggling and watching The Office with his dog Jack.
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