This is an easy dish to prepare, and is made from ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. The recipe came from a restaurant that I worked at in Chicago, and over the years I’ve made some changes to it to suit my personal tastes, and those of my guests and clients.
If you organize, it’s 30 minutes from pantry to tummy.
Place a skillet over medium heat and add the Italian sausage.
Stir and break apart the larger pieces, until the sausage is cooked through.
Place the sausage on paper towels to drain, and reserve.
Remove all but a tablespoon of the oil from the pan, add 1-tablespoon olive oil, and swirl to combine.
Chef’s Note: Depending on what type of Italian sausage you are using, you might have a bunch of oil, or almost none. If, after removing the sausage, your pan is relatively dry, then add 2, not 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt.
Sauté over medium high heat, until the mushrooms have released their moisture, and are beginning to turn golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Chef's Tip: After the mushrooms begin to release their moisture into the pan, use a wooden spoon to being scraping up those yummy brown bits (fonds).
Add the vodka, to finish deglazing the pan, and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lightly salted water according to package directions, until al dente.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid.
Add the pasta to a large bowl, and reserve.
Add the sausage back into the pan, and mix to combine with the mushrooms.
Combine the pasta water, cream, and egg yolk in a bowl, and whisk until combined.
Add the liquid, to the skillet.
Bring to a light boil.
Chef’s Note: As the dish is cooking, season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. This dish will be bland without a bit of seasoning...
Add the skillet ingredients to the bowl containing the pasta, and then stir to combine.
Add the Parmesan cheese, and carefully combine with the other ingredients.
Rub a bit of oil on the inside of the cast iron skillet, or oven-proof serving dish, and then add the mixture to a cast iron skillet, or other ovenproof serving container.
Chef's Note: The ingredients will be enough for two small cast-iron skillets. However, you could put it all into a large oven-proof serving dish, cook it, and have your guests have at it.
Sprinkle the top with the fontina cheese.
Place under a broiler until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve immediately, with some nice crusty bread. Enjoy.
Chef’s Tip: Remember to remind your guests that the serving dish is HOT.