We’re currently loving pasta dishes like this. No thick sauce; instead, just highly flavored oil in which colorful vegetables and pasta are cooked in.
But how does one make “highly flavored oil”? Well, there are plenty of ways. Probably the most well known is to cook garlic in olive oil and tossing in cooked noodles. Pasta aglio e olio, the Italians call it which, of course, you can make plenty of variations of — with mussels, with sun-dried tomatoes, and even with bacon and Hungarian sausage.
In this recipe, however, “highly flavored oil” is a combination of fat rendered from the sausage and olive oil in which shallots and garlic had been sauteed.
Naturally, you’ll want good sausage to make this pasta dish. Not hotdogs or frankfurters, but sausage that’s packed with spices. I’m partial to Spanish sausages. Chorizo de Bilbao and chorizo Iberico are on top of my list. They are so tasty you don’t need a lot. Just slice a fat sausage, cook the slices in a non-stick pan until they are lightly browned by which time they should be swimming in a shallow pool of rendered fat.
In another pan, heat olive oil, and saute sliced shallots and plenty of minced garlic. Then, cook asparagus and bell peppers with a bit of salt and pepper in that garlicky and onion-y oil.
Add halved cherry tomatoes, sprinkle in a little more salt and pepper, and cook just until the tomato halves are heated through.
Dump in cooked spaghettini, the browned sausage and all the rendered fat, toss together until every strand of noodle is glistening with oil, and you’ve got a delicious and colorful meal.
Spaghettini with chorizo, asparagus and cherry tomatoes
- 120 grams spaghettini
- 2 tablespoons salt plus more
- 150 grams Spanish sausage cut into ¼-inch rings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil not extra virgin
- 2 shallots (or one medium onion) peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- asparagus cut into two-inch lengths (see notes)
- 2 bell peppers deseeded and diced
- 12 to 15 cherry tomatoes halved
- ground black pepper
- sweet basil thinly sliced
- Boil water in a pot, drop in the spaghettini, add two tablespoons salt and cook.
- While the spaghettini cooks, heat a non-stick frying pan, spread the sausage slices and cook over medium heat until browned on both sides and fat has been rendered. Set aside.
- In another frying pan, heat the olive oil, and saute the shallots and garlic.
- Add the asparagus and bell peppers, sprinkle in salt and about a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and cook, tossing often, for three to four minutes.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes, sprinkle in a bit more salt and pepper, and cook just until the tomato halves are heated through.
- Drain the pasta and add to the vegetables.
- Add the sausage slices and scrape all the rendered fat from the pan directly onto the noodles.
- Toss everything together until the noodles are coated with oil.
- Taste, add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve topped with thinly sliced sweet basil.