When Todd and I were still young whippersnappers ("but you're only 31!") and still dating, he finally convinced me to watch The Godfather. Before then, no one could come close. It seemed violent, scary, boring and too boy-world for me. Well, color me wrong and color me delighted when I realized it was violent, scary, AWESOME, intriguing, complex, and fascinating. I had graduated college by this time though, and had an 8am - 5pm job, so we had to split it up between a couple of evenings. In the first half however, we got to watch the scene where that big fat guy shows Michael how to make pasta. So I told Todd, hey, let's have pasta like these guys.
Well, I did it all wrong, added too much sugar, not enough wine, and had something of a mini-meltdown because I cooked my boyfriend sugar pasta (Buddy the Elf would have approved though). The next week, though, when we watched Godfather Two, I made it again and added my own little tweakings. Ever since we've called it Godfather Pasta, which has a deliciously wicked ring to it, which fits because it is wickedly delicious.
First let me start off by stating that this is all from memory. I haven't made this dish in quite some time but it stands out in memory because it's just that good. And before I forget, let me add Todd's own tip: using tomatoes just this side of being too ripe makes for an extremely flavorful sauce. One time I made this using several nearly-questionable cherry tomatoes and he could not shut up about it.
-Penne, as much as you need to a: stuff your faces b: fill however many guests you have c: have leftovers d: all of the above
-Hot and mild italian sausages, the number depending on the same extenuating circumstances listed above
-Olive oil, couple of tablespoons
-4 cloves garlic, more if you're feeling froggy, minced or slivered
-Yellow onion, at least half of a medium one to take yourself and your pasta seriously
-6-8oz mushrooms depending on preference
-Dry red wine
-Several handfuls chopped, overripe cherry tomatoes
-Tomato paste, at least 1/2 a can, more if needed
-Dry red wine, at least half a cup, more depending on preference.
-Dried oregano and basil, the more the merrier
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Red pepper flakes if you're really hot for heat
-Parmesan, grated, about 4lbs (kidding... sorta)
Cook your spaghetti.
-Sear your sausages on all sides in a big skillet set to high. Pour yourself a glass of wine and threaten severed horse heads on anyone who disturbs you. When the sausages are fully seared, remove. Reduce head on skillet to medium.
-Add your olive oil. Add garlic and onion and cook a couple of minutes, til soft and slightly golden.
-Toss in the mushrooms and cook til they release their moisture and soften and shrink up all deliciously like they do.
-Add a splash or two of the red wine, preferably from your glass so you can pour yourself more. Let that cook down and then proceed with your tomatoes.
-When the tomatoes have cooked down and lost some of their structure, add the tomato paste, stirring to break it up and melt it into gooey goodness. If your sauce needs thickening, add more.
-Add the red wine, and use your sniffer to see if you should add more. The red wine will add an instant amount of depth and complexity to your sauce. Your nose will tell you if you need more.
-Let that cook and meld together for several minutes. While it does that, return your attention to your sausages. Cut them in 1" pieces and return to the skillet.
-Add herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Since I'm a whore for garlic, I will usually add even more, or at least garlic powder, at this stage to freshen up the garlic flavor.
-By this time your pasta will be done, just drain and return to the hot pan to cook off any residual water.
-When the sausages are completely cooked through, turn off the heat.
-Put a mound of penne in a big bowl and top with as much sauce as desired. Top with a disturbing amount of parmesan.
-Make someone an offer they can't refuse.