On those nights where I'm just NAT FEELIN' IT, you best believe I'm reaching for the pasta. In truth, I reach for the pasta on nights when I am feelin' it all the time, but when you're exhausted or in between grocery runs, it can really save the day.
This dish feels particularly warm and cozy with Italian sausage, earthy mushrooms, crisp asparagus, and a tomato sherry sauce that is rich, but brings enough acidity to round everything out. Because we're throwing this together on a weeknight, and should be extra nice to ourselves, homemade sage breadcrumbs come together in a snap, and provide you with an addicting, herbaceous crunch. Once you start making your own breadcrumbs, you won't ever want to buy them again. Also, it's an answer to all the bread butts you probably throw away. You're welcome (Can I start a band called The Bread Butts? What would our genre be? Probably something kind of rustic and French...I'm sorry). I hope this pasta makes up for my dad jokes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. While you're waiting on that to get going, make your breadcrumbs. In a food processor, combine 3 slices roughly torn bread, 6 sage leaves, and salt and pepper. Pulse until you've reached your desired texture. I like mine a little on the coarse side. In a frying pan, heat 3 tbs olive oil on medium, and add your breadcrumbs, tossing until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbs olive oil large skillet on medium-high, and add your sausage, until golden brown and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Add to a bed of paper towels to remove excess oil. To that same skillet, heat 1 tbs butter, and cook your mushrooms until golden brown, and set aside. Add your shallot and garlic to the pan, and saute about 1 minute, and de-glaze with your sherry. Add your tomato sauce, a splash of chicken stock, season with salt and a tiny pinch of crushed red pepper, and reduce to a low simmer. Allow your sauce to reduce by roughly a third, and cook your pasta. Add 1 tbs butter to your sauce, test for seasoning, and sprinkle with additional salt, if necessary.
When your pasta is almost done cooking, add your asparagus to your sauce. You still want it crisp, and bright green, so you only want it took for about 2 minutes. Add your pasta directly from the water to your sauce, tossing to coat all your linguine. Finally, add your sausage and mushrooms back to your pasta, and toss everything to combine. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano, your sage breadcrumbs, fresh chopped parsley, and be super happy with yourself because you just cooked a v easy, comforting, satisfying dish, and it came together in less than an hour.
This linguine is deceptively light for how much richness is happening here. The sage and sausage are a time-honored combo, and the asparagus lends itself as a crisp counterpart to everything else. The tomato sherry sauce is so bright, flavorful, and on the sauce spectrum, easy as hell. File this linguine under weeknights where you are juuuuust about to throw in the towel, put on those comfy pants, and get in that kitchen. Love ya. You're doin' just fine.
Linguine with Sausage, Mushrooms, Asparagus, & Sage Breadcrumbs in a Tomato Sherry Sauce
1 lb Linguine
3 Italian sausages, casings removed, crumbled into roughly 1-2" pieces
8 oz Baby Portobello or Crimini mushrooms
1 Bunch asparagus
For the Tomato Sherry Sauce
2 cups dry Sherry
1 cup tomato sauce
Splash chicken stock
1 Small shallot
2 Garlic cloves
1 tbs Butter
Pinch crushed red pepper
Handful fresh chopped parsley
For the Sage Breadcrumbs
3 Slices bread (I used leftover sourdough)
6 Sage leaves
3 tbs Olive oil
Salt and Pepper