Pasta with sausage and other good stuff.

In my library of a decade’s worth of old Bon Appétit magazines, I know exactly which issue to reach for: September 1995, the American Restaurants Issue. Page 93.

Page 93 is dog-eared, wrinkled from the steam of cooking, nearly torn from the binding. It contains a recipe from the venerable Milwaukee restaurant Bartolotta’s, for Penne with Sausage, Peas and Mascarpone.

Hello, Mascarpone? Remember that this was 1995, when the plush, smooth, creamy Italian cheese was a specialty food item, not something found at Trader Joe’s.

Make this, invite some friends (you’ll have plenty).

penne with sausage, peas and mascarpone

3/4 pound hot Italian sausages, casing removed
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages, casing removed
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 cups frozen peas
2/3 cup Mascarpone
1 pound penne
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté the sausage in a large skillet over high heat, breaking into chunks with the back of a spoon, until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage from skillet to a plate lined with a couple pieces of paper towel. Pour off all but a thin film of drippings. Add onion and sauté until golden brown over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes. Add cream and boil 5 minutes, then add broth and boil until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes. Return sausage to pot. Bring sauce to a simmer and add peas and Mascarpone, stirring well to incorporate the cheese. Simmer until peas are tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain pasta and add to sauce; stir in Parmesan, season with salt and pepper.

Note: After years of making this recipe and ignoring its equally delicious page 93 companion, we finally made the latter, Fusilli with Chicken and Shrimp. And we regretted having bypassed that all this time. Try it; it’s great, too!