This Spanish pasta recipe is a delightful combination of hearty tomato sauce with Spanish chorizo, a spicy pork sausage, and smoked Spanish paprika.
Italians are known to eat a lot of pasta, but the Spanish eat their fair share as well. They may not be world renowned for their pasta dishes, but macaroni, rigatoni, penne, and spaghetti are often enjoyed in Spanish homes with a typically Spanish twist to the sauce.
As in Italy, pasta is often considered the first course in Spain rather than the main course. However, this recipe will serve 4 adults as a main course because of the meat.
- 1 medium-size onion (yellow)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 Spanish semi-cured chorizo sausage
- 1/4 cup Spanish virgin olive oil
- 1 24-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes that have been chopped or pulsed in a food processor)
- 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
- 1/2 pound dry penne (macaroni or spaghetti noodles)
- Big pinch salt
- Start by peeling and chopping the onion into 1/4-inch chunks. Peel and chop garlic. Remove the seeds and veins from the pepper and chop. Cut the chorizo into round slices about 1/4-inch thick.
- Pour about half of the olive oil into a large skillet and heat on medium. Once hot enough (but not smoking), sauté the onion, garlic, pepper and chorizo slices in the pan. Stir often. If necessary, add more of the olive oil to the pan.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle in the paprika. Stir and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the sauce.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring water for pasta to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add pasta of choice and a big pinch of salt and cook until al dente -- about 10 minutes.
- Drain the pasta immediately.
- To serve, add the pasta to skillet and mix it together with the sauce. Or, if you prefer, plate the pasta, then add sauce on top.
More About Spanish Chorizo
Spanish chorizo sausage is very different than Mexican or Caribbean chorizo. Spanish chorizo comes fresh, semi-cured or cured, and the one used in this recipe is semi-cured. It is a firm, dry sausage that needs to be cooked before eating.
Most Mexican chorizo is fresh and soft, and not usually cured sausage. It also has different spices than Spanish chorizo, so it is not a good substitute for this recipe. If you need a substitute, use Portuguese linguica sausage which is very similar to Spanish chorizo in flavor and should be easy to find in your local supermarket.
Tomatoes and Spanish Food
Like all Mediterranean people, the Spanish enjoy tomatoes many ways -- fresh or cooked in lots of different kinds of dishes.