I love carbs. Potatoes, pasta, rice. You name a carb, I love it.
I also love finding new ways to eat carbs. I get that sauce isn’t a new way to eat pasta, but inventing new sauces is like a hobby for me. Ultra-specific, I know.
Usually, the sauces I make are savory and spicy. But when I got an adorable jar of honey from Catskill Provisions, (along with some honey infused whiskey) I thought, “Why shouldn’t pasta sauce be sweet?” Then I was reminded of the movie Elf when Will Ferrell pours maple syrup over the family’s spaghetti. Okay, so a totally sweet sauce is probably not the best idea. But maybe spicy and sweet?
And so my Spicy Sweet Sausage Spaghetti Sauce recipe was born.
Here’s how I made it, but if you want to substitute some ingredients to make it vegetarian (or to avoid a vegetable you hate), that’s cool too. As a reminder, I usually make enough food for two… or maybe three people if you have a little more self control than me. Whatever.
First, get your pasta water boiling. Pro tip: put the salt and oil in the water while it’s still cold. For unknown science reasons, this seems to make for better pasta. I used linguini, but you could use tagliatelle or conchiglie or farfalle. Farfalle is my fave; the little bow ties are so cute!
Anyway, in a small bowl– I’m talking like, tiny, here– I mixed two spoon-fulls of honey with enough balsamic vinegar to make the honey liquid enough to pour. Please get your honey from a company that takes good care of their bees! I used Catskill Provisions’ raw wildflower fall honey because they are socially conscious and environmentally friendly, and Kim approved.
With the pan warming up, I cut up half a package of kielbasa into half circles. You could substitute this sausage for some vegetarian sausage if that’s your thing.
I put the sausage in the warm pan without any oil, because there’s plenty of fats in the meat already. Then, I poured the honey/balsamic mixture over the sausage. In addition to making the honey a little more viscous, the balsamic caramelizes the outside of the meat just a tiny bit.
When most of the liquid is absorbed by the sausage, add chili flakes (or real chili peppers!) to the pan. I ordinarily would use chopped chili peppers in my spicy food, but we’re moving soon, and we have a huge container of chili flakes to use up before then. Also, it’s really just more convenient.
Now is where you get to dictate the recipe– the vegetables. I put in mushrooms and green onions and more chili flakes. I told you this was going to be spicy! If you don’t like these ingredients or don’t have them in your fridge, here are some other suggestions: zucchini, eggplant, regular onions, bell peppers, carrots, olives, spinach, artichokes, cauliflower… I guess you could add broccoli, but why would you want to? It’s my veggie nemesis. Basically, just use the veggies you want. Don’t ruin your sauce with a vegetable you don’t like. Looking at you broccoli.
Once your chosen veggies are mostly cooked, add the diced tomatoes. Use one big, fat tomato or two medium ones. Cover and let it stew until there’s some liquid from the tomatoes, but not so much that it’s watery, ya know? Unless you like your sauce to be really juicy. Not judging.
Though, I will judge you if you cook your pasta into a gooey mush. That’s a serious crime. So, go check on your pasta, and if its al dente, drain it! Another pro tip: if you leave the pasta in the pan while you wait for the sauce to be done, it will get all stuck together. Don’t do that– either plate it or leave it in the colander. And for Pete’s sake, don’t rinse your pasta after it’s cooked. That’s another no-no.
Alright, so the food should be done. Pasta + Spicy Sweet Sausage Spaghetti Sauce = happiness. The sweet and spicy dichotomy of the sauce really brings out interesting flavors. The honey I used was particularly smoky, so that added a whole other delicious dimension.
Who are we kidding, pasta = happiness. Please let me know if you try this recipe! I want to hear what you think. Happy carb-eating!