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September 3, 2007

Forget Otto von Bismarck: It’s Time for Sausage-Based Pasta Sauce


A very long time ago, a man named Otto von Bismarck said that legislation is like sausage – it is tangy, juicy and good to eat. He also, at some later point, said that you wouldn’t want to watch either of them made.


The question is this – what qualifies Otto von Bismarck to impugn the good name of sausage makers?


There are two ways you can watch sausage being made: You can either stuff the ingredients into the casings yourself, or you can remove the casings after the fact and look through the contents.

If you were to take this second route, you might find yourself asking, “What to do with this loose sausage?”


The answer, if your sausage is hot Italian turkey sausage, is this: Use it for pasta sauce.


This is a de-evolution of sausage. It starts loose, is packed into casings and is cooked again in loose form. To some, this is like the fish crawling onto land as a lizard, only to crawl back into the water and return to fish form so it can evolve into something even more advanced than the lizard.

Darwin, like Bismarck, was no great shakes in the kitchen and we can safely ignore what he had to say.


Start with garlic, chopped onion, loose sausage, mushrooms, zucchini and a hot Italian pepper or two.


Brown until your sausage is crumbled, your zucchini soft and your onions translucent. It is not yet known how these things occur at the same time, which makes it one of life’s unexplainable joys.


Now, you add tomatoes. Here, there is some debate on how to proceed, and there is only one certainty – Roma tomatoes are best.


Some suggest that you slice a small cross on the end and drop it into boiling water until the skin starts to peel. You then remove the tomato, let it cool (unless you enjoy handling boiling hot tomatoes), remove the skin and dice.


Others prefer to skip the extra work, and simply dice their tomatoes smaller before adding them to sauce.


Either way is perfectly acceptable, especially since someone following this recipe is already guilty of not having an Italian grandmother with her own secret sauce.


Just make sure that you add a lot. This is, after all, tomato sauce. When you get to the point where you think that you maybe have enough, add three more tomatoes to be on the safe side. If the sauce becomes too juicy, you can always let it cook down.


Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, which will color your sauce a deep, rich red and will cause it to thicken.


Now, we come to the issue of which herbs to add. Your noodles will rise up in revolt if you don’t use oregano and thyme. Use them liberally. But, now you are faced with a conundrum – rosemary or fresh basil? The two, sadly, don’t always play well together.


When fresh basil can be had, the standard is to defer in its direction. But, that is not the case here. Rosemary is the kind of herb that sausage can appreciate, because of its robust nature, and use it, too, liberally.


The only thing left to do is wait, stirring occasionally. Prepare a pot of noodles, and perhaps take some time to denounce Otto von Bismarck, who might have been a great statesman but knew next to nothing about sausage.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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