Monday, June 16, 2008

Bow Ties with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

One of life's simple pleasures is a big plate of sauteed sausage, peppers, and onions. It's great as is, or on a long Italian roll. Some people like to keep it simple with just those three ingredients, but others take it a step further and add a can of tomatoes, which turns it into a delicious sauce. So, I thought, why not pour this over pasta? Good idea, don't ya think?
This is one of those really easy recipes for which everyone thinks you went to a lot of trouble. Not only that, it smells REALLY good while it's cooking. When I made it, friends were telling me that they could smell it cooking throughout my entire apt building. All of my neighbors wanted to come over for dinner that night! Fabulous.

1 lb. bow tie or other pasta
1 package sweet Italian sausage (about 2 lbs)
1 large yellow onion
2 green bell peppers
1 large can stewed or crushed tomatoes
white wine
chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. In the meantime, slice sausage into small pieces. Saute in a large saute pan until lightly browned. Do this in batches if it doesn't all fit in the pan. Remove all cooked sausage and set aside in a bowl. Peel onion and cut off both ends. Cut it in half, slicing in the same direction as the grain. Slice each half, again going in the same direction as the grain, so that you're left with strips of onion (instead of dice). Saute onions in the same large saute pan over medium heat, adding a little olive oil if necessary. Core the peppers, cut into strips, and add to the pan with the onions. Continue to saute until everything has softened and cooked down. Add sausage back to the pan along with the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and a few glugs of wine. Give it a good stir. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain pasta (don't rinse!) and toss with the sausage and sauce. Top with grated cheese.

I chose to keep it simple, but you can go a lot further with this recipe. Add some chopped garlic to the saute pan with the onions and peppers. Add some other fresh herbs such as fresh oregano or even thyme. If you're really feeling spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes or use half hot sausage and half sweet sausage.
You can also enjoy this dish without the pasta. Just saute the sausage in large pieces and serve on fresh Italian rolls.

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