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Posts Tagged ‘pappardelle’

I’m not mad about cream sauces for pasta. Too often I find them either insipid or cloying; sometimes, in restaurants, even faked up with floury white sauce. But one of the first recipes Tom and I ever developed for our first cookbook, La Tavola Italiana, is a pasta sauce with cream that we still love whenever we make it for ourselves.

In Italian, the recipe is called alla contadina – peasant-style. Preparations of that name can vary greatly in different regions of Italy. This version is from the north, because of the cream and the fresh egg-based pappardelle (which, if you don’t know them, are a little like fettucine on steroids). But cream is not what you principally notice as you eat. The robust main flavor is from crumbled Italian-style hot sausages, sautéed with chopped onions in butter and olive oil. Thinly sliced mushrooms provide a gentle foil, and the cream (and more butter) is just a soft, silky medium for their meeting.

The published recipe calls for homemade sausages as a preference, as well as homemade pappardelle. Tom and I did actually make our own sausages some years back, but we can get such good ones in stores now we rarely go to the trouble. But homemade pasta is an essential part of the dish for me, even though it’s also easy to buy now – and in fact, any fairly sturdy commercial egg noodles will do, as well. If you make your own pasta often enough, the process stops seeming like a lot of work and is just one of the things you do in the kitchen. This time I made just enough for two servings of pasta.

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The sauce is also easy to make. Rather than describe the steps, I’ve taken a photo of the recipe’s page in our book – complete with one of the food stains that adorn so many pages of my frequently used cookbooks!

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And here’s the result – just waiting to receive a topping of grated parmigiano and freshly ground pepper on our individual servings.

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If you try the recipe, first taste it just as is; you might find it spicy enough from the sausage. But the cheese and pepper gives it a little extra oomph. And, as Julia Child might have said if Paul had taken her to Rome rather than Paris, Buon appetito!

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