SHOPPING LIST: 4 Isernio's Italian Sausages or 1 lb. bulk roll (pork or chicken, crumbled) 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 med. onion, peeled and finely chopped 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped or pressed 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (optional) 1 28-oz. can Italian style plum tomatoes, with juice, squeezed by hand or broken up in skillet with a wooden spoon. 3/4 lb. Rigatoni pasta or cut pasta of choice 10 fresh basil leaves, torn Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 4-6 tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
LET'S COOK 1. In a large 12" skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and cook sausages over medium heat until brown. No need to cook all the way through. Just cook until browned on both sides.You can also use bulk sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cooking until all pinkness is gone, do not brown. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet, add the onion, garlic and red pepper fakes and cook on medium until the onion is soft, 8-10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Cut sausages diagonally into 3/4" slices and return to skillet. If using bulk sausage, add cooked sausage now. Bring sauce to a boil then reduce heat to a medium low, just bubbling simmer. Cook sauce uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
3. While the sauce is cooking, bring 5 qts. of water to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp. salt to boiling water, add the Rigatoni and cook until al dente -- about 12-14 minutes, or according to the package instructions.
4. Taste the sauce for salt and pepper, and adjust if needed. Drain the pasta completely and place in the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce to ensure each piece is coated. Add the torn basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and mix well. Serve immediately with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Use your judgment and taste. A larger quantity of sauce will take slightly longer to cook.