The Shameless Chef: Pan Sausage Spaghetti
If you're like me, spaghetti was one of the very few dishes you would eat as a child without complaining. However, by the time you developed a taste for steak, you'd eaten so much spaghetti, you'd gotten kind of bored with it. That's where this week's recipe comes in; it's a way to reinvigorate boring-ass spaghetti without doing anything complicated.
The prep time takes a little longer than last week's dish, but it's slightly less involved. There's no batter to worry about, so you don't have to worry about the consistency of any of the elements. All you'll need is:
- 1 one-pound pack of spaghetti - 1 pack of ground pork sausage in a tube - salt
And honestly, you could probably make do without the salt. If you had to.
You'll want to set out the sausage to thaw about 12 hours before you start, but let's be realistic, you're more than likely going to end up defrosting it for ten minutes in the microwave. That's okay; that'll give you something to do while the big-ass pot of water is taking forever to come to a boil on the stove.
If it's not frozen solid at this point, you're already ahead of the game.
You'll need to use a big-ass pot of water because medium-ass pots are notorious for boiling over when used to cook spaghetti. You'll want to use about half of a one-pound pack of spaghetti; that'll set you up with roughly three very generous servings worth. Any more than that, and you'll be eating this stuff for a solid week. Plus you'd be spreading the sausage pretty thin, and nobody wants that.
Brown the sausage in a skillet. It's not complicated; cut the sucker open, dump it in the pan, and fry it on high-ish heat until it's not pink anymore. Stirring is a good idea. I added a little Italian seasoning because I happened to have some lying around, but it's not necessary unless you want to be a fancy gentleman like me. Those of you who are color-blind, call someone else in to confirm the meat's lack of pinkness. Undercooked pork is not to be screwed around with.
Cook it while the noodles are boiling. Saves heaps of time.
Once your water has reached what's called a "rolling boil" (that means it's bubbling like crazy), dump the spaghetti in. Don't dump it in before then, or it'll stick together obnoxiously. In fact, that's what the salt is for; somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of salt in the pot will keep the noodles from clumping together very nicely. For those titty babies among you who mewled about the sodium content of last week's entry, here is a recipe for low-sodium vegetarian white bean chili that looks absolutely flavorless. Choke on it.
Reduce the heat on the boiling spaghetti to allow it to simmer (that means it's still bubbling just a little bit) and go do something else for 15 or 20 minutes. Hell, you could probably watch an entire episode of The Office while you're waiting. Well... maybe not, that might overcook it. An episode of Metalocalypse would be better.
Don't mind the third pot in the background, it's just a chocolate-almond picatta reduction for these Mediterranean lamb shanks I was simultaneously preparing. Boring shit, you wouldn't be interested.
Did you ask me, "What happens when you overcook spaghetti?" It transforms into a deadly poison. It may also come to life and attack your pets. Better to just be safe and not overdo it.
You can drain the pasta if you want to (I just fished it out with this little spaghetti tool I've got) but DO NOT DRAIN THE MEAT. The juice is essential; it's going to be your sauce. Yes, that is correct: there is no marinara or alfredo or any other kind of traditional sauce served with this meal, it's just the sausage's natural juiciness. I think you'll be surprised at how well these two simple ingredients compliment one another. Once I tried this (I had literally nothing else to eat in the house), I never wanted to eat spaghetti any other way again.
Short version: brown meat, boil noodles, combine, eat.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.