Fire Station Cooking: Sprengel’s Linguine Milano

By Craig Nelson

This recipe bounces us back out to the West Coast, from Pat Sprengel, a fire captain with the Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department (LACoFD), who originally hails from Torrance, California. Before his fire department days, Pat worked as an L.A. County lifeguard (I can picture him running down the beach in slow motion, just like the opening scenes in the show Baywatch with Pamela Anderson by his side). Currently, he is working in the wildland section of the fire department and loves it. Pat reports that LACoFD has 2,722 sworn personnel in 171 stations (a little bit larger than we are here in Fargo). They also handle 296,500 runs a year. 

Pat says that his father, Larry Sprengel, used to make this recipe for him when he was a kid. It was always his favorite. Pat has passed on this great recipe by preparing it many times for the fire crews he has worked with over the years. He says one of the best things about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time or early in the day and then refrigerated until it is time to cook. As busy as they are, little things like early meal preparation probably help a lot.
 
We made this recipe at the downtown fire station in Fargo for a family that had won the bid at a charity event to have a meal with the firefighters. Including the four dinner guests, there were 13 of us. We made three pans of the linguine. Following fire department unwritten law, we erred on the side of safety when using a highly scientific method to calculate the amount to prepare–I think it was something along the lines of if it calls for one to two pans, double it. We usually have leftovers, but we overshot quite a bit this time and ended up with twice as much as needed. I don’t ever want to find out what would happen if we came up short on food. The revolting chaos would be a tragic piece of folklore history carried on by many future generations of firefighters. I had my three plates, Ryan had his four, and so on (we did our part). I’m guessing we overshot the amount because our guests didn’t quite feel the need to have three to four plates as the rest of us did. The meal was great–another proven solid recipe. The guests enjoyed, and we had enough for leftovers at lunch for the next two days. Thanks, Pat!

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Linguine and Sausage Casserole

Ingredients

2 – 2 ½ lbs. of hot Italian sausage (I use the 2 ½ pound packages from Costco.)
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I use an 8-oz. package of sliced mushrooms from market.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chunked
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. sweet basil, crumbled
½ tsp. oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp. rosemary, crumbled
½ cup olive oil
½ cup butter
16 oz. linguine
16 oz. sour cream
 
Preparation 
 
Brown sausage (if using links, remove skin and tear into bite size pieces before browning) Remove and drain on absorbent towels.
 
Sauté mushrooms, garlic, green pepper, onion, parsley and seasonings in olive oil and butter until green pepper is soft.
 
Remove from heat. Stir in sausage. 
 
Cook linguine according to instructions on package. Cook “al dente” with two spoons of cooking oil to keep from sticking. Place in colander, and give a quick cold water wash to prevent residual cooking.

Mix with sausage mixture. Add sour cream and mix. Place into three-quart (9 × 13) shallow baking dish. Place into 350º oven uncovered for about 30 minutes to heat through and serve. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Scores:

            Ease of preparation: Easy, but it did take some time (it was well worth it!)
            Time: about 1 ½ hours
            Cost: $30.00 with garlic bread ($5-$7 per person)
            Feeds: 4-6
 

Download a PDF of the recipe HERE.

I am always looking for more recipes. Please share your creations with other firefighters by sending in your favorite recipe. Each article contains a quick introduction to those submitting the recipe, their department, their recipe, and any stories that may surround the legendary dishes. Send recipes to firestationcooking@gmail.com. Please also include your name and e-mail address. Eat together when you are able, and stay safe out there.

Craig Nelson has been in the fire service for nine years, working as a volunteer, paid-on-call, and a full-time firefighter/EMT. He works for the Fargo (ND) Fire Department and works part-time at Minnesota State Community and Technical College – Moorhead as a fire instructor. He also works seasonally for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a wildland firefighter in Northwest Minnesota. Previously, he was an airline pilot. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership.

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