I know what you’re thinking: how could I go away for almost two weeks and not give you any notice?!
Believe me, it wasn’t intentional. I think we’re all in agreement that the holidays are busy and stressful, but these past few weeks have been exceptionally sporadic. Fortunately, I come bearing a winner of a dish: imagine an Italian sausage sandwich, oozing with cheese and sauce… turned pasta.
Onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, spicy sausage, ricotta, and juuust a touch of cream.
The inspiration for this dish came from an Italian restaurant down in South Florida. After Thanksgiving, John and I enjoyed a quick dinner before hopping on a plane to fly back up north. One of the more memorable dishes included homemade pasta, sausage, and a tomato-cream sauce.
Enter my reinterpretation of the plate!
The first step to creating a good sausage dish is to, um, buy good sausage.
For us, that means a trip to Fairway.
Slice the sausage on an angle in 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces. (*Note: it’s easier to slice if you place the sausage in the freezer for 20-30 minutes beforehand.)
Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until browned and fully cooked through.
Meanwhile, sauté onion and bell peppers in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook until soft, about 7 or 8 minutes, then add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes.
While the sausage is browning and the veggies are getting delicious, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it’s at a rolling boil, add a few tablespoons of kosher salt, then toss and the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Let the onions, peppers, and tomatoes simmer for about 5 minutes, then add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Toss cooked pasta and sausage in with the onion and bell peppers. Serve in a large bowl with a heaping spoonful of fresh ricotta cheese.
If you’re feeling sassy, sprinkle the finished product with some chopped parsley.
Clearly, I was not feeling sassy. (Read: I was out of fresh herbs.)
Let’s talk taste. The best part of this pasta is the sausage. Sure, you could make this with chicken or turkey sausage (I applaud your decision to use something healthier than pork), but make sure it’s h-o-t. Got it?
Now that we’re on the same page, I’ve got work to attend to.
By “work” I mean menu planning for Christmas.
And by “Christmas” I mean national “Jews Eat Chinese Food” day.
Rotini with Spicy Sausage and Ricotta
Yields: 6-8 servings
Time: 35 minutes
- 3-4 links of sausage (SPICY!)
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 lb whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked and drained
- Fresh ricotta cheese
- *Optional garnish: fresh chopped parsley
- Place sausage in a freezer for 20-30 minutes. Remove and slice on a diagonal into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage for 5-7 minutes per side, or until fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, sauté onions and bell peppers in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook until soft, about 7 or 8 minutes, then add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes.
- While the veggies are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt, then pour in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Simmer the onion, peppers, and tomato mixture for about 5 minutes, then add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Toss cooked pasta and sausage in with the onion and bell peppers. Serve in a large bowl with a heaping spoonful of fresh ricotta cheese. If using garnish, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.