Today is November 30; very nearly December, and a mere 26 days to Christmas. In Bangor, Maine, in a typical year, the temperature would typically be somewhere in the region of 35 to maybe 45 degrees. We’d be wearing winter coats and gloves, and we would not be lingering for any amount of time outside. Today, however, it is 60 degrees out in Bangor, Maine. I am wearing a dress with no leggings, and the slip on flats I wore all summer. According to weather.com, in Atlanta, Georgia, it is 45 degrees. This is troublesome, in the sense that this probably should not be happening. But it is also an at least temporarily pleasant side effect of climate change. Don’t worry: it’ll come back to get us later in the winter, when we have 80 feet of snow in April.
In honor of our freakishly warm weather today, I’m planning on making a dish tonight that my husband and I make when the farmer’s market season is in full swing. Obviously, now is not that time, despite evidence outside to the contrary. Anyway, this dish involves two of my favorite things: wine and sausage.
LINGUINE WITH WHITE WINE AND SAUSAGE
I make enough for four, so we can have dinner for one night and leftovers the next day. You will need half a package of linguine; a bottle of your favorite inexpensive white wine; a pound of sweet or mild sausage (pork, turkey or lamb, doesn’t matter, up to you); a small onion or two shallots, finely chopped; one large tomato, chopped; several handfuls of arugula or baby spinach and another handful of fresh basil; salt, pepper, and olive oil; a generous helping of your favorite grated cheese.
Put water on to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, if you have links, take the sausage out of the casings, so you just have the meat. Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and add your onions or shallots. Cook ’em for a few minutes. Add the sausage meat in, breaking up the clumps into smaller bits. Cook for maybe three minutes. Open up your wine and pour enough in the skillet to barely cover the cooking meat. Reduce the heat to low and let the meat and wine simmer for about ten minutes.
Cook your pasta and drain it, and while it’s still hot, put it into a big bowl. Immediately add two handfuls of arugula or baby spinach and one handful of chopped fresh basil, as well as a healthy slug of olive oil; toss until the greens are slightly wilted. With a big spoon, add the sausage to the pasta but leave the juices in the pan, and toss again until it’s all combined. Serve on plates, and spoon the remaining liquid from the pan on top. Top with your favorite grated cheese and the chopped tomatoes. Serve with what’s left of the wine you were cooking with. Take a walk in the balmy November air afterwards.