99% if the time when I make pasta, I use whole wheat noodles. I've found a wonderful brand that really tastes great. But whole wheat pappardelle isn't easy to find, and I have to admit I loved the white pasta in this. But it us just as good with whole wheat!
The recipe comes from Lidia Bastianich and it tastes fantastic. It's a little more time-consuming than ideal for a weeknight, but if you make it once you can eat for a week (or refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for next week).
Here's what you need:
1½ pounds Italian sausage (I like hot but you can use mild)
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large cans Italian plum tomatoes
1 branch of fresh basil
1 pound pappardelle or your favourite pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
This technique was new to me and I'm not sure what it does exactly, but the sauce tastes so good I wouldn't skip it. Remove the sausage from its casings and crumble in a large bowl. Cover with 1/2 a cup of white wine. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic. Season with a little salt.
Raise the heat to high. Add the sausage to the onions and the remaining 1/2 cup of wine and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until the wine evaporates and the sausage is browned.
Add the tomatoes and a cup of water and submerge the basil in the sauce. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about an hour until thickened.
Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
Remove the cooked basil from the sauce and top the pasta, tossing it with the noodles.
Top with grated parmesan and some fresh basil leaves.
This is a great sauce to have on hand at this busy time of year. Although it takes a while to cook, there's minimal hands-on effort involved and there will be plenty of leftovers to heat up for a quick weeknight meal.