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Sausage, Resurrected

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The sausage is more than rehabilitated.

Since the dawn of time, man-woman-cook has pondered this question: What to do with leftover sausage?

Just the other day I grilled more sausage (plain Italian, no fennel) than we could eat. In the hours after lunch the leftover meat came to room temperature. Along the sheath of sausage casing the fat congealed, rendering the links slippery and mildly unpleasant. Occasionally inclined to gluttony, I occasionally dropped by the kitchen counter and took a bite of cold sausage. On its own, there is nothing very appealing about it. Even reheated there is nothing very appealing about cold, leftover sausage, on its own.

How to rehabilitate leftover sausage? eat them twice?

One of my favorite summer pastas that I make consists of onion and cherry tomatoes, what the Italians call pendolini, with just a pinch of red pepper flakes, cooked hot in a saute pan. What if we bring leftover sausage and that sauce together?

That day I’d also made a small pot of ragu, with ground pork. A dab of that ragu was also leftover.

Try this. I did. It was fantastic.

Slice your pendolini in half, slice an onion the size of a softball, and saute them in olive oil, in a pan your can cover. A touch of red pepper does no harm. While they saute, cut the leftover sausage into poker-chip-sized slices. Add the sausage slices to your saute. I tossed in my leftover ragu, about half a cup; another option would be a half cup of tomato puree. Cover the pan and cook on low for 20 minutes.

The sausage is more than rehabilitated. It is resurrected. You’ll have a thick stew, sweetened by onion, picante with red pepper, gorgeous red with tomato, enboldened by the sausage. We ate ours with a side of plain brown rice.

I can’t wait to make this dish again. In fact, from now on I will probably calculate the amount of sausage we need for a meal, and add enough to that amount to ensure there’s a goodly portion left that no one wants. No one, that is, but me.

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