Tag Archive: pasta


Its been a long time since an episode of “Bachelor Cooking” posted!

Not a single recipe since I was dating Inna earlier this decade, and while the hurt from those failed relations (nobody’s fault but the money) will never go away until I mend that loss with a more stable Украина женщина, I decided to follow up my “Columbus Day Top Ten” reasons post with what I created for my Italian-style Columbus Day After-parade dinner. I’ve been on a cooking “roll” (no pun intended) lately, and its a shame that I have no lady to share them with. I digress…back to the dish and not the “dish”.

This “hot” Italian sausage and spinach dish came out “restaurant quality” in my opinion. You can use just about any firm pasta as the base so long as it withstands the sausage and tomatoes; I chose Rigatoni, but Penne, Rotini or shells would work!

In the wake of Columbus Day 2019 and the inspiration of watching it from outside of NYC on WABC7NY television that glorious Monday, I wanted to extend and so I imagined, what kind of food I could make similar to what would be enjoyed in the Little Italy that evening for my own post-parade party. Before a recent trip, I stocked my provisions in the fridge and I had a craving for hot Italian sausage, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to grill all summer as I would have in normal years past. 2019 has not been a “normal” year; I’ll tell you why in a couple more posts.

So, I came up with this simple celebration of taste where you’ll only need one pot and your large black iron frying pan to create a restaurant-quality dish! I’d just recently became reacquainted with my heavy pan which was in storage, seasoned it with some extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and put aside overnight in a cooling oven.

Therefore, when I began this dish by sauteing three hot Italian sausages on number 2.5, if your range is electric or medium-low if gas, it was ready to rock and roll. Simultaneously, prepare half-pound of Rigatoni in another two-quart pot with a dash of seas salt tossed in the water. Make sure you put three cuts on each sausage like you would a hot dog on the grill – it will make them easier to chunk with your metal spoon, spatula or precise-knife!

While that is cooking, get one onion, three garlic cloves ( or a couple teaspoons of pre-minced from the jar, half a bag of frozen (unless you want to do it yourself fresh) pre-sliced “three peppers (yellow, read & green) mix”, one can of diced peppers, a half can of tomato paste and half-bag fresh spinach (not “baby”) ready on the side to join the action. When the sausage starts to sizzle, I turn them and lace with a hand-full of Italian seasoning from my spice carousel. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box and set aside.

After about 7 minutes, take the chunks of sausage out of the pan put in a little tin warm-foil and set aside on your stove top. Drain any excess oil from the heavy pan – but not all! Lower heat and add your garlic, chop three-quarters of a yellow onion, stir and raise the heat to medium or 4.5 on the electric range. Stir a lot and add your tomatoes (with juice),tomato paste, a splash of a red-wine beet marinade and four drops of Filippo Berio Raspberry Glaze with Balsamic vinegar and a little palm-full of hot red-pepper flakes from my spice carousel. Cook it about 10 minutes and stir often to mix it up! Remove from heat.

Drain the Rigatoni, toss with a splash of evoo and couple dashes of dried Basil. Add spinach. I transferred it to my big, silver chef’s bowl and mixed all up really good with my chef’s wooden spoon, until the spinach was wilted. Add sausage and really mix-up and toss as all ingredients now have a party going on in the bowl!

Transfer a portion to a serving dish and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese… “Viola!”

A nice, room-temperature glass of authentic Chianti completes this meal!

This definitely extended the Columbus Day feeling for the rest of the week as I (of course) have copious leftovers in my brand new resealable container, tempting me to munch every time I open the fridge.

As with a stew, it was even better the second serving! “Light-bulb!!! Maybe you can use this recipe for your upcoming NFL Super Bowl party!
Enjoy and please let me know how you liked it!
And now a word from our classic commercials…

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It is not every day that a man survives to become sixty years old in these days and times. Ok, maybe it is “everyday”, but not for me. It is once in a lifetime and I never thought I’d be this age! lol
In-fact, one could argue that it is increasingly rare for we, the single Baby Boomers to do so. So, as part of my “big six-oh” [60] birthday “me time” hideaway, I wanted to do something significant since my fiancée`, Inna and I are still financially separated by the Atlantic ocean and part of this mission was to distract myself from that briefly and satisfy a “pasta attack” (craving/yearning) that I’d endured for a couple of months.
I went online and searched the neighborhood where my “secret” weekend room was located and I found Saggio Restaurant, 829 W 181st Street, New York, NY 10033 (212) 795-3080. From the “Google maps” analysis, it looked to be an about five to seven block walk away and so I decided to find it the next day, a Sunday, January 20th. Isn’t the internet “wonderful” for making us even lazier about finding places?! In this case, it was a laptop convenience!

It was a sunny and blustery day as I struck out on foot with Saggio in my sights. I walked north on St. Nicholas Avenue until 181st Street, where I turned left to walk west, up growing hills. New York City is amazing because of how the complexion of the neighborhoods can change almost block-by-block. I walked from a mostly Dominican hood into a new Russian and then Italian area by the time I found Saggio and heard all of the languages along the way (which is my “deal” these days – linguistics).
The adventure was in the discovery in an area that I’d never hunted in by foot before! When I finally found the numerical address of Saggio, I was pleasantly satisfied that I found a place that not “everybody” would know about; truly in-keeping with my sixtieth “hideaway” theme.
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Saggio has an outer door shield against the cold this season. I can only imagine that they probably have outdoor “café” tables with umbrellas during the warmer months. Once inside, the bar is on the right as I was greeted by the seating femme maitre d’. I declined her choice of table, preferring the “window seat” near the 181st Street entrance I had walked to and from which I could see the majestic Manhattan stanchion of the George Washington bridge that I saw from the street.
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It was only moments until I was greeted by “Emily” my smiling and attentive authentic Italian waitress, who even brought me the lunch specials on the big black chalkboard as well as the regular table menu for dinner! She really fit the mold for this setting and in-fact she suggested that I do this review when I mentioned my past experience as a food critic!
I was torn between the steamed Mussels and a Pasta dish called “Rigatoni grandma’s recipe of slow cooked ragu with meatballs and Italian sausage”. I chose the latter with a side of sautéed spinach (“yum in garlic, olive oil and butter!) and a glass of their house red vino, but let Emily know that when we return, she’ll already know I am having the Mussels next time! The sauce was not as “Marinara” as I would make, but authentic; the meatballs and sausage just what I craved that early afternoon and I savored every bit amongst private thoughts and plans I have for the rest of my days and to incorporate my lady who has awaited [my] kiss for longer than many would overseas I think. “Yes, we will dine here…” I thought with confidence.
No overpowering music, just enough din and friendly patrons and service made my Saggio choice an excellent one that will make this anniversary all the more memorable.

upon leaving, a second look back and thoughts of you

upon leaving, a second look back and thoughts of you


I used to review restaurants and produce them in audio as part of my chores manning the “Awl Nyte Flyte” radio show on WFTQ AM, Worcester, MA thirty years ago. If I were still in that capacity, I would give Saggio four out of five stars only because I had to ask for bread to mop-up the great pasta sauce left after all the pasta, sausage and meatballs were gone.
Check out Saggio Italian restaurant, between Lafayette and Cabrini Boulevard. Please note that they have an extra-tasty and unique brunch menu! I made a mental note to definitely return here – it is that intimate…and special a place.

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