Penne alla Boscaiola
This may have been the first time I’ve had a Boscaiola sauce, it’s a pasta that you can find on almost every menu in Tuscan restaurants and one that I always turned my nose up at. I like most food, vegetables especially, but one of the few that I really dislike are peas, I can tolerate them if they are cooked with other ingredients, but those ingredients have to have dominating flavors. I remember visiting an ex-boyfriend who lived in Bologna when I was studying in Rome 10 years ago and he made every meal from peas, pasta e piselli and risotto con piselli, I thought I was going to die, but was too polite and uncomfortable to say anything. I broke up with him shortly afterward, I swear it wasn’t because of the peas.
Lately I have been finding my fridge strangely empty, and those last minute throw a few things together meals are becoming more and more of a challenge. I did have some mushrooms leftover from a stir-fry, a few sausages in the freezer and a bag of peas, I oddly ALWAYS have frozen peas in my freezer, it is one of the first things I buy when I move to a new place. It is not to torture myself, but I like to have the ingredients for my family’s bastardized version of Nasi Goreng at hand.
Not feeling like going to the grocery store, because now in my 8th month of pregnancy, I don’t feel like doing much of anything, I decided to try my hand at a Boscaiola. Having never actually eaten it I was just working with what I believed were the right ingredients and no website offered the recipe that I had in mind. Who knows if I got this one right and considering how particular Tuscans are about their food, I’m sure that train stations will be blocked and there will be protests in the streets for something I got wrong. My husband seemed to enjoy it and even paid it the compliment of saying that it tasted like the Boscaiola at il Contadino, one of our favorite restaurants in Florence.
Penne alla Boscaiola
- 2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 1 cup of white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup of green peas
- 2 cups of san marzano tomatoes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb of penne pasta
- salt for pasta water
- grated parmigiano reggiano
Fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add onions, cook until the onions are transparent, stirring frequently. Add sausages, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as they cook. When the sausages are broken up and cooked through, add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms release their juices before adding the tomatoes, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peeled tomatoes, squishing them in your hands over the pan to break them up. Bring to a simmer, add the peas and lower the heat to medium-low.
Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
When the pasta is perfectly al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce. This allows for the pasta to cook a little longer in the sauce and to absorb the flavor.
Serve with grated parmigiano reggiano.