Every once in a while you have to go through the pantry to see what’s in there. Things tend to pile up and sit for years unused. So last night, rather than trudge through heat and humidity to make a market trip for dinner, I dove into the canned goods. The result: a terrific ragu to serve as a bed for Italian sausages from our local dairy.
Start by sauteing 1 large onion, diced small and seasoned aggressively with kosher salt, in extra-virgin olive oil over moderate heat. Toss in 2 cloves garlic, minced. When the onions are soft, add 1 14-ounce can roasted red peppers, roughly chopped; 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes; 3 small boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Stir in 1 tablespoon or more tomato paste from the tube in your refrigerator. (Even better, finish the tube of tomato paste if you can’t remember the last time you used it!) Add 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano to the pot and maybe a splash of red wine, cover and cook until the potatoes are just about tender.
When the potatoes seem almost done, stir in 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans. Cover and cook a while longer until the potatoes are fork-tender and the beans are heated through. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, use your cast-iron grill pan to cook four of your best Italian sausages. When these are done, ladle ragu into four large bistro bowls (pre-heating them in the oven is a nice touch) and lay a sausage, cut in half on the diagonal, in each. Garnish with a generous splash of olive oil and a hefty grating of Parmesan cheese.
Now, aren’t you proud of yourself for finally using that stuff in your pantry closet? Give yourself a pat on the back for acting like a real chef.