spicy sausage pasta

4 Dec


Picking out a tree and decorating it may be my favorite thing about the holidays. Brian and I planned to get our tree this past Sunday, but unfortunately, our plan got derailed by the rain. The first Christmas Brian and I spent together we named our tree Bert and we’ve done so ever since. This year he will be named Bert 3! Every year we also photograph ourselves with Bert in front of our house. We really need to get more friends, huh? Since we didn’t want to shoot this epic photo with Bert in the rain, we postponed our tree day for another weekend. Sadly, it will have to be December 15th because we will be out-of-town next weekend looking at wedding venues. If you couldn’t tell from my wedding inspiration post, I’m looking for a barn. A rustic and elegant barn, if you will. I swear, a barn can be both rustic and elegant. I’m not sure that I’ve convinced Brian’s mother of this fact just yet, but fingers crossed I will. As you can probably imagine there aren’t a huge number of barns in the Los Angeles area, so we are driving up north to San Luis Obispo to look at a few.  Wow, I just went on a whole wedding tangent and I didn’t even mean to. Sorry about that, back to the tree and the rain. So, after we scrapped the tree idea, we decided that the rain called for cooking a new recipe together and drinking a great bottle of red wine that was given to us by our friend Chris, as an engagement gift. Thanks Chris!

Pasta + red wine + rain + your love = a fabulous Sunday night.

Kate & Brian’s spicy sausage pasta…enjoy!

Serves: 4-6


3 lb heirloom tomatoes, cut into small dice, juice reserved
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 to 3 tsp red pepper flakes
15 large fresh basil leaves
1 lb rigatoni (we used gluten free pasta!)
4 spicy Italian sausages


Combine the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don’t like spicy and up to 3 teaspoons if you do) in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

Sautee sausages until cooked

When the tomatoes are ready, tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook according to the package directions. (If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/2 cup/120 ml of the pasta cooking water before draining.)

Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta cooking water (as needed) and parsley and stir to mix. Add the tomato mixture, and stir to combine.Taste and season with salt and additional pepper flakes, as desired.

Then EAT!


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10 Responses to “spicy sausage pasta”

  1. Katie D December 4, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Kate, my friends got married outside at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and had their reception in a barn on the property…so fun and beautiful!

    • katemcclafferty December 4, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you for the info Katie!! I’ll have to check that out! xx

  2. the usual bliss December 4, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Near San Luis is Harmony- check out that zone for a cool barn and lots of vineyards nearby. Harmony is teeny and has a glass-blowing studio and a cute little rustic main drag. If nothing else, drink wine at their tasting room. Which is, in fact, a barn. 🙂
    PS Love seeing posts about you COOKING!

  3. Suzanne December 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Oooh I love your wedding ideas! 🙂

    And.. My husband & I have a “Doug” every year. Not-so-creatively named after our 1st Douglas Fir. But now it’s a fake-o white tree. Still Doug. 🙂

  4. sophiaharcourt December 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    A barn wedding! Those are so popular and everyone wants one….because they are …Awesome;)! Refer future mother-in-law to Pinterest;). So as I was researching my oncoming Cali adventure and I came across a vineyard in Solvang that does weddings and has a barn! One of my stops will be Solvang because I love it there (at least I did when I was in high school so it is one of my stops on the way north to SF). And I thought to myself Kate likes wine ;). I’m assuming it will be on your way to San Luis Obispo. And even better (well in my mind) it is called Coquelicot Vineyard which is the french name of my favorite weed/flowers, poppies! Anyhow good luck with your appts and I hope you find what you are looking for.
    Maybe this year you should name the tree Ernie and the following years you could go through the whole Sesame Street cast;).
    Can’t wait to see future posts from your trip. I am so hoping you had an awesome elephant encounter.

    • katemcclafferty December 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Sophia, I am so happy you understand how fabulous barns are! Thank you so much for the tip about Solvang. I will have to check it out!
      P.S Kate does like wine 🙂

  5. Loni Found Herself December 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Kate, I second Solvang. Our trustees had a weekend retreat at the Alisol Guest Ranch and it was gorgeous. They have this stunning lake up in the hills with a pier big enough for a reception or ceremony.

    See? You needn’t worry about the wedding talk. We all love it! 🙂

    • katemcclafferty December 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      I guess I better be getting myself to Solvang! Thank you for the tip sweetness! Double date soon??? 🙂

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