Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipe: Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce

It's no secret that I am a fan of the spicy portuguese sausage known as "chourico". Why I am a fan of chourico is no mystery either, it's because chourico is a ubiquitous ingredient in the cuisine of my hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts (where the word chourico is pronounced something like: "SURE-dEESE"). Fall River has a large Azorean Portuguese community and that means we have great Portuguese food. From what I hear, Portuguese people on the island of Saint Michael now consider Fall River the tenth Azorean island. I like that.

So, like I said, chourico is a ubiquitous ingredient in our local cuisine. It is in sandwiches, pies, paired with seafood, a pizza topping, a breakfast side, it is served as an appetizer, a main, it can be used with or in a variety of things. It has even penetrated the most American of feasts: Thanksgiving, where our local variety of turkey stuffing has a good deal of chourico in it. Hell, one of my friends even eats it dipped in chocolate. I prefer to cook mine in a flaming bath of Portuguese moonshine.

That's why, I can't even consider a collection of personal Italian recipes that doesn't include one that uses chourico. This is probably the oldest of the chourico sauce recipes I have. I've been preparing something like this since around 1980. In those days the recipe was basically a marinara with ground chourico in it. I've refined it now and I also add some sweet and crunchy red pepper that works great against the spicy chourico.

If you don't have chourico where you live, I've included a link below where you can get some of the best. Don't be afraid to try a different kind of spicy sausage with this dish. Italian, Cajun or Brazilian sausage will work fine, and while I haven't tried it with Mexican or Spanish chorizo, I'm sure that would work as well.

Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce

2 TBS olive oil
3 large links (about 1.5 lbs.) of chourico cut into 1/4" slices
1 large leek (white part only) chopped (substitute onions if you like)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 bay leaves
2 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 TBS dried basil
1 healthy pinch of dried oregano
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large red pepper (cut into matchstick sized pieces)
Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (grated)

While you are preparing the sauce as outlined below, cook your linguini the normal way.

Place a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks, bay leaves and chourico and sauté stirring regularly until the leeks get translucent and the chourcio begins to cook and brown a little.

Add the garlic and continue to cook stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!

Raise the heat to high and deglaze the pan by adding the two cups of chicken broth to the mix. Stir well and be sure to scrape up and hard bits from the pan.

Allow the chicken stock to reduce. When it does, add the two cans of ground tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the basil and the oregano and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer and cook like this for 20 to 30 minutes.

Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

2-3 minutes before you are ready to serve the sauce, add the red pepper and stir in well. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE RED PEPPER. You want it to remain a little crunchy.

Serve the sauce over your linguini with a generous sprinkle of parmesan-reggiano cheese.

Recipe: Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk http://www.choponionsboilwater.com

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