Friday, November 23, 2012

Rigatoni with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms and Red Onions

Mushrooms and red onions.  That's what I based the whole meal around.  What could I make that would showcase those two ingredients?  One idea was a homemade pizza with Italian sausage, garlic white sauce and caramelized red onions and mushrooms.  That, actually, appealed to me very much, but I didn't have pizza crust, wasn't going to the grocery store and didn't want the mess of making it a couple of nights ago.  I'll put that one on the list for a weekend meal.  Another thought was a creamy pasta sauce using cream cheese but, as that type of sauce is a weakness of mine, I was pretty sure I would overindulge.  Okay, so let's lighten it up a little. 

Then, my mind went to a darker pasta sauce, something with red wine.  That would go very well with the mushrooms and red onions.  One teeny-tiny little problem - I don't have any red wine.  I don't keep it on hand.  My wine drinking is still a work in progress.  I have made giant strides away from Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill, and shudder at the thought of drinking it now, but I haven't progressed to red wines yet.  They are, for the most part, still too dry for me.  Okay, so plan B.  Wait, pizza, creamy pasta, red wine sauce........better make that plan D.  How about Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegars?  This could work.  It would be a tangier sauce, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Reduce it down, and it would sweeten a little bit on its own.  Hey, I think I might be on to something here!

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 Lb. Italian Sausage
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, undivided
1/2 Cup Red Onions, diced
1 Carton baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1 Lb. box of rigatoni
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
2 Teaspoons Lawry's season salt
1/2 Teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1 Teaspoon McCormick Tuscan seasoning
2 Teaspoons McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning

Brown sausage in a non-stick skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.  In a separate skillet, brown 2 tablespoons butter and onion about 10-12 minutes on medium heat.

Add garlic and mushrooms; saute for 2 minutes.

Once mushrooms start to soften a little, add broth and vinegars.

Turn to medium-high heat; cook for another 2 minutes.

Add seasonings and cooked sausage. 

Continue cooking on medium-high heat, until the liquid has reduced down by more than half, stirring frequently. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of very generously salted water.

When pasta is about 2 minutes from being done, remove one cup of pasta water.  Add it to the sausage mixture, along with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Stir until butter is melted and sauce has thickened a little, 1-2 minutes.

Drain pasta and toss with the sauce.

Grate a little Parmesan cheese on top.  It cuts the tanginess and pulls the whole dish together.