It must be that Sicilian Thing. No not the one you’re probably thinking of – the one where Tony Soprano or Michael Corleone contemplates his next power play for the family business . I’m talking about the “other one” – the great Sicilian way of cooking great dishes with their traditional ingredients. Many of these ingredients were introduced over centuries of conquering by the Moors and others who influenced their cuisine in a very distinctive way. When I saw the mezzi rigatoni in the mix of possible pasta choices for the Delverde “Dish Your Blog” contest – I thought of nothing else but Sicily and the mix of these ingredients. Thus – the creation of MEZZI RIGATONI CON SALSICCIA E OLIVE seemed inevitable.
“This recipe is posted as an entry in the Delverde DISH YOUR BLOG recipe contest to try to win a trip to NYC. Some entrants may have received free sample products in addition to the opportunity to compete for the prize.”
A word about the pasta: The delicious and different mezzi rigatoni ( half rigatoni) are the perfect choice for an olive oil based sauce – Sicilian Style – using the traditional ingredients in many dishes from this island of culinary bounty. They were the perfect size, shape, and texture to coexist with the colorful and tasty choices of ingredients I chose. The Delverde Mezzi Rigatoni offer a superior texture – so well cut that you can actually taste the “ribs” on each little tube.
Beginning with the expected olive oil and fresh garlic, good Italian sausage anchors this dish as in many Sicilian recipes. For color and further interest, a combination of Kalamata and the famous intensely bright Castelvetrano olives of Western Sicily offered a touch of the bitter with the sweet and meaty.
The basic flavors were now set! I included sun dried tomatoes to add balance with brightness and sweetness– with color as an added benefit. The fresh Sage, thought in ancient times to have medicinal qualities, spiked the dish with a subtle injection of aromatic spice. Rounding out with toasted pignoli, often the Sicilian choice of nut, gave this mouth watering heap of mezzi rigatoni a hint of roasting while adding texture.
Shall we add a dash of red pepper flakes for a tiny jolt of heightened pleasure? You’ve got the idea! That Sicilian Thing has made a statement here especially when a bold grated Pecorino is passed among the guests for a final finish to a dish of mighty flavors.
MEZZI RIGATONI CON SALSICCIA E OLIVE
(Mezzi Rigatoni with Sausage and Olives)
Prep: about 20 minutes
1 lb. Delverde Mezzi Rigatoni
1/3 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Fresh Garlic Cloves – chopped finely
3 Links Italian Sausage ( about 3/4 lb.) – crumbled with casings removed
1 C. Chopped Pitted Castelvetrano and Kalamata Olives
1/2 C. Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes, packed in oil (oil drained)
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Sage
1/4 C. Toasted Pignoli (pine nuts)
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Pecorino Cheese for serving
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Place the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan.
Add the sausage and brown in the oil.
Add the olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh sage, pignoli, and red pepper. If needed, add salt and pepper.
Cook just a few minutes until heated through and flavors combine.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir in.
Drizzle generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Serve with grated Pecorino.
Your MEZZI RIGATONI CON SALSICCIA E OLIVE is ready to be enjoyed with your favorite vino rosso!
PARLA COME MANGI!
Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.
Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography