Add the Sausage Puree to the Pasta Sauce

I rarely cook the same thing twice. This is especially true with pasta sauce, as it can be adaptable in nature. The other day I was making a simple spaghetti dinner for myself and a friend, simply because I found a can of tomatoes I never knew existed. As I tasted and tweaked, I remembered that I had about half a cup of the spicy, nduja-like spread I made earlier this week. I threw it into the sauce and tasted it and was delighted.

While I was enjoying the food and the decent amount of wine my friend brought, I started to wonder why I didn’t add the sausage puree to the pasta sauce all the time. Aside from prosciutto, why didn’t I toss pepperoni puree, pepperoni salami, or sopressata in pans of boiling red sauce?

It’s not so much about adding chunks of meat as it is about giving a savory, salty, fatty character to your favorite snack. When processed into a paste with a little oil, the meat spread completely melts in the sauce. This is very easy to do. Simply process four ounces of jerky – you can focus on one, or try a combination – with one or two tablespoons of olive oil or lard, until smooth and easy to spread. (Try one tablespoon, process and add more if it feels dry.) You can also add Calabrian peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or olives.

When you have umami wrapped pasta, add tablespoon at a time to taste. If I’m starting out with something simple like this super-simple Instant Pot sauce, the entire pasta can be added to a quart of sauce with great success. Rather than cooking it at the beginning of the sauce (as is the case with most meats), I add it at the end to melt the fat instead of browning. Try it with whatever appetizers you like, but I highly recommend pepperoni, which I use when I want to make what I call “pizza paste.” (Add a spoonful of ricotta if you want to die and go to heaven.)


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