I have a confession to make. This Thanksgiving (which was just my parents, my boyfriend and I), my mom and I sat around gossiping while the boys cleaned up the kitchen with the exception of two dishes - my fork and the cranberry sauce dish. I single-handedly polished off the can and, I have to tell you, I loved it.
So, naturally, when I saw bags of glistening, jewel-like cranberries at the grocery store, I had to snatch up as many as I could carry. This, unfortunately, left me with an unforeseen problem: What on earth am I to do with all of these (now frozen) cranberries?
While this particular recipe doesn't use up very many of them, they turn into a fantastic sauce, almost a ragu. The cranberries give the sauce an almost tomato-like flavor.
Penne with Sausage, Onion and Cranberries
1/2 pound dried penne or other small pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
5 links sweet Italian sausage, sliced or crumbled
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup dry Sherry
3/4 cup chicken stock, preferably low-sodium or homemade
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pasta water
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the onion. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the cranberries, sausage, basil and oregano.
2. Cook until the sausage begins to brown and the cranberries are popping. Add the Sherry and turn the heat up to medium. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove and cooked-on bits. Once the Sherry is reduced by at least half, add the chicken stock and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is a bit tart for your taste, you can add 1/2-1 tablespoon of sugar to sweeten it.
3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
4. Once the pasta is cooked, add the pasta water to thin the sauce. Toss the pasta and the sauce and serve.
- This is endlessly adaptable. If you have leftover roasted chicken or turkey on hand, that can be used in place of the sausage.
- I see no reason that you couldn't use dried cranberries in place of the fresh or frozen. I would probably chop them roughly before adding them to the sauce.
- Any dry white wine could be used in place of the Sherry.