Simple Fireside Pasta

Autumn’s seasonal changes have arrived, bringing a noticeable chill in the afternoon air and the steady lengthening of evening shadows into the long dark nights of winter. My thoughts during this season often revolve around a cozy evening by the fire, which, of course, requires a simple but filling fireside dinner.

With this in mind, I share here a simple pasta dish that is easy and quick to prepare while providing all the savory attributes that a fireside meal requires. During preparation, the pasta dish will fill your kitchen with the seasonal aromas and flavors of pork sausage, garden onions, mushrooms, and a rich and savory cream sauce. With many of these simple peasant dishes, the recipe is not very formal. It requires good ingredients combined with simple preparation, and results in a warming dish that can be enjoyed by your own fireside or while wrapped in a cozy comfort or throw.

Start with about a pound or more of good-quality loose sausage. I use a regular country-style sausage, but if you’d like a bit of spice, Italian Hot Sausage would be an appropriate choice. I brown the sausage in a sauté pan with one or two large yellow onions chopped to a medium dice. When the sausage has begun to brown nicely, and the onion is colored, I add a pound or so of sliced mushrooms. For this batch, I used some portabellas found at the local supermarket, but feel free to add whatever mushroom you prefer and, of course, if you have time, forging for your own is always a plus. If the mixture is a bit dry, just a little water in the pan to moisten and bring everything together. I then add a handful of shredded cheddar, some I had left over from a previous cooking adventure, and a cup or more of heavy cream to bring the whole to fruition. Salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and fresh sage complete the seasoning of the sauce.

Add the cooked pasta of your choice to the mix, and with freshly grated parmesan over the top, you are good to go. Undercook your pasta just a bit, and simmer it in the sauce to really infuse the flavors into the pasta.

With this simple meal complete, invite a neighbor over to nestle in by the fire, or Zoom to share this delicious recipe with a friend. You—and this quick winter pasta—will be a welcome light to any dark, cold night of winter.

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