CUISINES/ ITALIAN/ MAINS

Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks! I have a great pasta recipe for you today. Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta is really simple to prepare; the results are creamy, rich and savory. We have beautiful color with red and yellow peppers and baby spinach. This is one of those pasta dishes that you keep going back to for more. Spicy Italian sausage with diced peppers, onions and garlic, perfectly al dente bucatini pasta, cloaked in a light and smooth, silky sauce that is creamy without any cream. Are you ready for this? Let’s get to it!

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The first thing I like to do whenever I make pasta is to get a pot with 3 quarts of water set to boil. Fill the pot, but it on a back burner over medium-high heat and cover the pot. If the water starts to boil before you’re ready to cook the pasta, just turn down the heat a little to keep the water simmering. When you’re ready to cook the pasta, just turn the heat back up to bring the water back to a vigorous boil, add the 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and you’re ready to go!

Another Pasta Tip…

I find it so much easier to prepare a pasta that requires vigorous stirring in a Dutch oven. The high sides of the pot help keep everything in the pot, which keeps me from being too gingerly with my stirring to avoid mess. For these Italian pasta dishes where we use pasta water to make a sauce we need to be able to stir vigorously to get the starchy water to emulsify with the Parmesan or other fat. The other benefit of a (cast iron) dutch oven is that it retains and radiates heat. So I can finish cooking the pasta and emulsify my sauce without turning the heat up too much, which can lead to over cooking the pasta or burning the sauce.

The Sausage

Once we have a pasta water set to boil, let’s move on to the sausage. Brown the sausage in a pot over medium-heat with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Break up the sausage as it cooks. While it’s browning, prep the rest of the ingredients. Diced onion, red and yellow peppers, and mince your garlic. Grate 1 cup of Parmesan Cheese. When the sausage is browned, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Sauté the diced onion in the same pot, with whatever sausage fat is in there and another little drizzle of olive oil.

Peppers and Spinach

When the onions are softened, add the diced peppers and a good pinch of kosher salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally until the peppers are softened and begin to get a little browning. Then add the minced garlic. Stir and cook the garlic for about 1 minute.

Then add the baby spinach. Stir in the spinach and as soon as it’s wilted, add the browned sausage back to the pot and stir well to combine. Add a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper and stir. Turn off the heat and turn your attention to the pasta.

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The Pasta

Bring that pot of water back to a vigorous boil and add the kosher salt. Then add 8 ounces of Bucatini or Spaghetti. Cook according to package directions for al dente, then minus a minute. For Bucatini, it will be 7-8 minutes. Set a timer. When the timer is up, taste the pasta; it should have a slightly firm center. Cut the heat under the pasta and bring the pot close to your Dutch oven with the sausage and veg.

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Turn the heat under the sausage and veg to medium-low. Use tongs to transfer the barely al dente pasta to the pot with the sausage and veg. Whatever pasta water travels with the pasta is totally fine. When all the pasta is in the pot, add the grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. We do this technique here all the time; vigorously stir the pasta water and cheese into the pasta and sausage and veg until the cheese melts and emulsifies wit the pasta water and a thin, light, creamy sauce coats everything. Then cut the heat. We’re ready to serve!

Use tongs to transfer a portion of the Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta to wide shallow bowls and top with more fresh grated Parmesan.

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This Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta is so, so, so good! The spicy Italian sausage goes beautifully with the sweet peppers and onion. The spinach adds a nice bit of color for balance. This is a very simple dish, relying mostly on the spices in the sausage and the natural flavors of the peppers, onion, garlic, spinach, pasta and Parmesan. It’s creamy and rich, yet light because there is no actual cream – it’s so good, and isn’t a guilty pleasure!

I do have quite a few pasta recipes that employ this Italian technique of using starchy pasta water to attain a glossy, silky sauce without cream. Try: Onion and Miso Pasta, Bacon and Corn Pasta, or Caramelized Corn and Asparagus Pasta – just to name a few. I hope you have a great day, take care and be well. xo Kelly

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Key Equipment

Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta

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Dinner, Main Course Italian
By Kelly Djalali, Inspired by Salt & Lavender Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 20-25 Minutes Total Time: ~30-35 Minutes

Sausage and Pepper Pasta is a very simple dish, with bold flavors and a light, creamy sauce gently blanketing the pasta, sausage and veg.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Spicy or Mild Italian Sausage
  • Drizzle Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 Orange or Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 4-5 cups Raw Baby Spinach
  • 3 cranks Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 8 oz. Bucatini or Spaghetti
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan

Instructions

1

Set a pot with 3 quarts of water, covered over high heat for the pasta.

2

Brown the sausage in a pot over medium-heat with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Break up the sausage as it cooks.

3

When the sausage is browned, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Sauté the diced onion in the same pot, with whatever sausage fat is in there and another little drizzle of olive oil.

4

When the onions are softened, add the diced peppers and a good pinch of kosher salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally until the peppers are softened and begin to get a little browning. Then add the minced garlic. Stir and cook the garlic for about 1 minute.

5

Then add the baby spinach. Stir in the spinach and as soon as it's wilted, add the browned sausage back to the pot and stir well to combine. Add a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper and stir. Turn off the heat and turn your attention to the pasta.

6

Bring that pot of water back to a vigorous boil and add the kosher salt. Then add 8 ounces of Bucatini or Spaghetti. Cook according to package directions for al dente, then minus a minute. For Bucatini, it will be 7-8 minutes. Set a timer. When the timer is up, taste the pasta; it should have a slightly firm center. Cut the heat under the pasta and bring the pot close to your Dutch oven with the sausage and veg.

7

Turn the heat under the sausage and veg to medium-low. Use tongs to transfer the barely al dente pasta to the pot with the sausage and veg. Whatever pasta water travels with the pasta is totally fine. When all the pasta is in the pot, add the grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Vigorously stir the pasta water and cheese into the pasta and sausage and veg until the cheese melts and emulsifies wit the pasta water and a thin, light, creamy sauce coats everything. Then cut the heat. We're ready to serve!

8

Use tongs to transfer a portion of the Super Sausage and Pepper Pasta to wide shallow bowls and top with more fresh grated Parmesan.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 12, 2023 at 8:03 am

    Kelly, this looks good! Less decadent than Ina’s amazing rigatoni & sausage with all that yummy cream. It is delicious though…I like the addition of fennel and was wondering if you have tried adding fennel to your recipe ?

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 12, 2023 at 8:51 am

      Hi Sarah, it is a bit lighter than a cream-based sauce! I have not added fennel to this particular recipe because the sausage has a bit of fennel in it already. That said, I love fennel and I know finishing this dish fresh fennel fronds sprinkled on top would be a delicious, and pretty addition. Thanks so much! xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Mari
    January 12, 2023 at 8:42 am

    It looks really good, and the addition of spinach is a great way to get vegetables into people. My husband was not a fan, so I frequently snuck them into other things that he did like, and we were both happy. It’s funny how the right pasta can turn things around. For years I thought I hated spaghetti, but as it turns out, I didn’t like the pasta I was using. Now I buy an imported pasta, and it has made all the difference. Gluten free pastas are notorious for falling apart, but the one we switched to, stays together and has great mouth feel, and tastes good. Best of all everyone else likes it too. Just as with vegetables, if they don’t know, they will eat it, and not notice anything is different! This pasta is perfect for today. It’s cold, dark, and rainy, and this is comfort food at its finest. We are having yesterday’s gorgeous salad tomorrow. You were right about the white balsamic – it is everywhere, so that was a nice find. Hopefully your weather is warmer and sunny, so you, Alex, and the pups can spend some time in your wonderful yard. Have a wonderful Thursday.

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 12, 2023 at 8:53 am

      Hi Mari, dishes like this are great for sneaking in the veggies! We are preparing this morning for a blustery and stormy day. They’re warning of tornadoes!..? Yikes! Have a great day, and enjoy that salad tomorrow! xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Mary
    January 12, 2023 at 10:30 am

    This looks and sounds delicious! I’ll be picking up the ingredients and making this soon. Perfect for a cold winter evening.

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 12, 2023 at 10:40 am

      Hi Mary, It’s a great comfort-food recipe! I am sure you will enjoy it. xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Terry
    January 12, 2023 at 10:59 am

    We are having this tonight I just have to buy the pasta and sausage… Yumm can’t wait to try this. Finally a dry day today first in 11 days, it is short lived though tomorrow it starts all over again. UGH I heard a threat of possible tornadoes out there. Be safe 🤗❤️mom

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 12, 2023 at 11:26 am

      It’s a crazy year for weather so far, Mom! Stay dry and enjoy this pasta, I am sure you all will love it. xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Pat
    January 12, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    This looks yummy!

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 12, 2023 at 2:33 pm

      It is amazingly delicious, Pat! xo Kelly

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