Lamb Merguez Sausage Rigatoni
Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 30 minutes
Average Cost: $12.00 US
I discovered Lamb Merguez Sausage last year and I don't know where it's been all of my life. Seriously. As a lover of lamb, this North African spiced sausage is just wonderful. Plus, to find it out in the wilds of my little corner of Arizona is truly miraculous.
|This is the brand I use. I see that you can order it online if necessary|
Here's what happened. We go to the nearby town of Bisbee a lot. It's a cool little town with a lot going on. We always stop at the High Desert Market. They have a freezer with super expensive cheese, some goat, sometimes some Halibut, and other sundries. Clearly many of these things have been requested by some locals so the market likes to keep them in stock. One day I check and find five completely frozen packages of Lamb Merguez Sausage. Not knowing if it's good or not, I grab one. We go home and I cook it up throw it in some pasta with red sauce and then I get to experience how damn good it is.
The next day I drove thirty miles back to Bisbee and bought the other four packs. HA! Poor dude who had them order it for him was probably wondering what happened. Now there are two of us!!
Ever since, whenever they have the Lamb Merguez Sausage in stock, I buy every damned one of them. Sometimes they are not in stock. for weeks I wonder if it's that dude doing the same thing to me.
Lamb Merguez Sausage wars!!!
So the other day I was jonesing for some Lamb Merguez Sausage. We were having company over, so I decided to make it with some pasta. I knew I wanted something hollow, so I pulled some rigatoni mezza out of the pantry. This is perfect because it lets the ingredients coat the inside and the outside. I also didn't want to use any cream or any sauce. I wanted this to be rustic. This is the best version of it so far and with no butter or cream it's about as healthy as possible.
Bag of Rigatoni Mezza or similar hollow pasta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (I use Meyer Lemon)
6 fresh Merguez sausages cut into very small pieces but not minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced4 spring onions, thinly sliced.
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I prefer yellow sunbursts because of the color)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.
2 oz goat cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.
Meanwhile, heat 4 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any of the larger pieces with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spring onions and cook until softened, about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the last 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.
Add the wine to the skillet, then the broth to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the pasta and cheese, adding more wine to loosen, if necessary. Fold the mixture together completely so that the rustic ingredients get into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
This is a terrific meal. Serve with a salad if you want. Something light and green. Hold the tomatoes because this has that wonderful taste in spades.
What's in merguez? Always check the ingredients, but our friends at wilipedia say this: Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or Harissa, which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.