Saturday, April 23, 2016

Linguettine con salsiccia e spinaci olio d'oliva

     A Traditional Italian Olive Oil Sauce Pasta! 
    "Olio d'oliva" translates to olive oil and when written as a menu item description these words usually refer to a simple olive oil sauce.  Olive oil sauces for pasta are popular in Italy, especially during warm summer months.  Authentic Italian restaurants in America offer traditional olive oil sauce pastas on their menus.
     Sausage, garlic and spinach are the featured ingredients in today's pasta.  A key to cooking simple flavor combinations in Italian cuisine is aim for getting peak flavors from the fewest ingredients possible.  In Italian cooking, it is not how many extra ingredients are added that makes the entrée great.  It is the quality of the basic ingredients and the quality of the cooking techniques that makes the food great!    
    I chose an Italian fresh spicy sausage for today's recipe.  Sweet Italian sausage can be used if that is what you prefer.  There is a fairly high amount of olive oil in this recipe, so this pasta is somewhat healthy to eat, even though the sausage contains saturated pork fat.  Olive oil has a way of relieving saturated fat and hard cholesterol from the body.
     When cooking an olive oil sauce, it is important to keep the temperature of the pan under the temperature range where olive oil starts to smoke.  Olive oil becomes bitter tasting when it reaches the smoking point.  Olive oil has a low smoking point temperature.  Medium/medium low temperatures are about as hot as olive oil can withstand.
     There are several kinds of olive oil to choose from.  Blended olive oil is used for higher temperature cooking, especially for pan frying.  Pomace olive oil stands up to moderate sauté temperatures.  Virgin olive oil has a very low smoking point.  Virgin olive oil is usually added late in a recipe just for flavor.
     Sausage Preparation: 
     Place a 5 to 6 ounce fresh Italian sausage on a roasting pan.
     Roast in a 300ºF oven till the sausage is fully cooked and lightly browned.
     Cool the sausage to room temperature.
     Cut the sausage into thin slices.
     Set the sliced sausage aside.
     Linguettine con salsiccia e spinaci olio d'oliva:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     The sauce for today's pasta can be cooked in the same amount of time that it takes to cook the linguettine pasta.  The goal is for the sauce and pasta to finish cooking at the same time, so peak flavors and al dente pasta texture can be achieved.  
     Linguettine is not always easy to find.  Linguettine is a thin linguine pasta.   
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of linguettine pasta in boiling water over high heat.  
     Stir the pasta occasionally.
     *Start making the sauce and it should finish when the pasta is al dente!  (About 9 to 10 minutes.)
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  
     Add 3 minced garlic cloves.
     Briefly sauté till the garlic starts to turn a golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of very thin sliced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.  
     Step 4:  Add the sliced roasted Italian sausage.
     Sauté till light brown highlights appear on the sausage and onion.
     Step 5:  Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 2 1/2 cups of baby spinach leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Toss the ingredients till the spinach wilts.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth.
     *The small amount of liquid stops the pan frying saute process, so excessive browning does not occur.  Most of the liquid will evaporate by the time the pasta is added.
     Step 7:  Check the pasta.  If it is al dente, then it is ready.  
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Step 8:  Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a long straight tine carving fork to twist the pasta while placing it on a plate.  (Spin the carving fork to coil and twist the pasta, so it forms a high peak on the middle of the plate.) 
     Spoon the remaining sausage, spinach and olive oil sauce over the pasta.
     Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese over the pasta.
     No garnish is necessary!  
     A simple, light and delicious Italian pasta! 

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