City House has been open for 6 years, and for 6 years, Chef/Owner Tandy Wilson has been nominated for the James Beard Best Chef Southeast Award. Tandy's style is to use as many locally sourced ingredients, use as much of the ingredient as possible and make it delicious, and use some old world techniques to cook food. One thing I learned from Tandy is that pasta sauce does not have to look like a red tomato sauce out of a jar. Pasta sauces can be gravy, stew, lemony, veggies without tomato, and of course tomato.
Today, I wanted to make a Tandy style pasta sauce and use up ingredients I put up in the freezer or dried from summer and fall. I dried my organic cayenne, so I pulled one out of the jar. Last fall, I make herb ice cubes to use in soups and stews, so I pulled out 2 garlic scape cubes, 2 basil cubes, and 2 scallion cubes. I froze purple-eyed peas last summer, and pulled them out. Last summer, I cooked up tomatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots and pureed them into a sauce and put that sauce in quart containers in the freezer, so I pulled out one of those quarts. I go to Lazzaroli's pasta, and get lots of pasta and freeze it. I pulled out a box of fettuccine. I got the 1/2 consumed red wine bottle from earlier in the week. I pulled out my last sleeve of Emerald Glen pork sausage, made from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free range hogs. Emerald Glen sausage was really special because of the type of fat you can only get from foraging hogs. This may have been the last Emerald Glen sausage because Emerald Glen Farm had to close its sales at the farmer's market due to some family health issues. I have been hoarding this last sleeve since I bought it from Emerald Glen Farm on their last day of sales. I had a reminder of how wonderfully savory, meaty, and luscious this sausage is. I have a couple more servings left, and I will savor every last bite. One day, I hope family health returns to Emerald Glen, and we can enjoy such lovely sausage again.
My pasta and pork sauce was so good. The ingredients were all local, and they all were exceptional in flavor. I just really enjoyed this dish so much. Here is the recipe:
1 lb fettuccine (or your preferred pasta)
1 lb pork breakfast sausage (or turkey or chicken breakfast sausage, or soysage)
1 quart tomato (and veggies) sauce
2 ice cubes garlic scapes (or 2 cloves garlic minced)
2 ice cubes scallions (or 2 scallions thinly sliced)
2 ice cubes basil (or big handful basil thinly sliced)
1 heaping cup purple eyed peas (or 1 can black eyed peas rinsed well)
1 cayenne minced (couple shakes of red pepper flakes)
1/2 - 1 cup red wine
salt to taste
1. In heavy sauce pan, put tomato sauce, garlic, scallions, basil, peas, cayenne and wine over medium heat. Let come to a stiff simmer (small bubbling).
2. Saute sausage in a pan until it is crumbled. If it s fatty, when it is cooked through, drain most of the fat.
3. Add the sausage to the sauce, and simmer.
4. Taste the sauce when it is done, and then add salt accordingly.
5. Boil up the pasta to al dente.
6. Drain the pasta.
7. Combine the sauce and pasta.
I just happened to have all these local ingredients, and fresh made pasta on hand, but this dish can be made with conventional foods from the everyday grocery store too. Tomato sauce (plain in a can) would be awesome in this dish. I just happened to have frozen some tomato sauce, so I used that. And, the sausage needs to be a breakfast sausage variety (not Italian flavored), whether it is pork, fowl, or vegan. There is a local maker of soysage, a breakfast style and it is sold at the Produce Place, that would be good in this dish too, and it would be egg-vegetarian (eggs in the pasta). I don't make soysage because it is just a lot of work for me, and I can go to the Produce Place and buy a reasonably priced soysage that is already made. Using Trader Joe's organic brown rice pasta (vegan) and the soysage can make this meal completely vegan. And, using Trader Joe's organic brown rice pasta is gluten-free, so this dish can be made gluten-free. This is a versatile recipe for many dietary requirements. I haven't tried it yet, but I am thinking the sauce would be really good with a large grain like large farro or large quinoa. I will have to try that sometime.