The death in Rome of James Gandolfini, the American actor who played a leading role in the Sopranos series, gave me pause to think. At just 51, his demise was a reminder that a heart attack can strike anytime. Especially if you do not exercise regularly and do indulge in the pleasures of life. It also reminded me of the scenes in Mafia movies where a group of thick-set men sit around a table, with large napkins stuffed in their collars, and share a big bowl of pasta.
In honour of James, in praise to pasta and Italian cuisine, I offer here a recipe for a delicious combination of pasta, tomato, basil, garlic and sausages. I could not find the small Italian sausages with fennel at my local trattoria so I had to do with plain French pork sausages.
- Bucatini (long pasta with a length-wise hole, some 50 grammes per person)
- Tin of tomato pulp
- Some cherry tomatoes
- Garlic in pepperoni oil (available at the Italian deli)
- Sausages (one per person)
- Grated parmesan
- Basil leaves
- Salt, pepper, optional stock (in cubes or sachet)
- Cook water in a large pan, add salt or stock
- Cook the sausages in a skillet for 15-20 minutes
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and out them with pulp, garlic, sliced sausages and pepper in a pan, heat until it turns to bubble, stir and put on moderate temperature.
- Some 15 minutes before you plan to eat, put the pasta in the boiling water, stir regularly and let cook for 11 to 12 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, wash, dry and shred the basil leaves.
- Put the tomato/sausage combination in a large bowl, add the drained pasta and mix to coat the pasta with sauce. Add grated parmesan and continue mixing, add the basil leaves and serve.