Another quick weeknight dinner, inspired by Naturally Ella and the beef red-hots wasting away in our freezer. We make our own sausage, and the beef red hots were a recent failure. The flavor was good (definitely lived up to the name of red-hot) but the texture was all kinds of off, so they weren’t any good to just eat straight up. We decided they needed a sauce to help the texture along, and I remembered seeing a roasted red pepper pasta sauce and tada! A plan for dinner. This was very tasty, though pretty damn spicy between the paprika and the HOT sausages. Our sausages were also smoked, which I think was a great touch with the red pepper sauce. Chorizo would make a good sub, but I think this would be tasty with just about any sausage that strikes your fancy. I’d just adjust the seasoning to compliment your sausage. Some of those fancy chicken sausages would be great, and much healthier. 🙂
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta w/ Beef Sausage adapted loosely from Naturally Ella
- 1/2 box whole wheat penne pasta (or other chunky shape)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 sausages
- 2 red peppers (or pre-roasted jarred peppers)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- 6 large button mushrooms (anybody surprised? They are optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp hot paprika (smoked would be great)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 cup stock/broth (I used veal stock. if you don’t have that, then match your broth to your sausage. chicken with chicken. beef with beef. Ummm…veggie broth with pork probably. Or just water)
- 1 Tbsp-1/4 cup cream (I started off with just a splash, and thought that texture was nice, but ours was so spicy that it needed the extra cream for balance. Your mileage may vary. You could also omit the cream entirely.)
-Roast the red peppers:
Either hold them over the flame of a gas stove with your tongs till they are completely blackened, or if you are stuck with an electric stove, put them right up under your broiler and turn occasionally. You want them to be truly black all over.
Once they are blackened, pop them into a plastic or paper bag for a couple of minutes with the top sealed. You are letting the heat of the peppers steam the skin off.
Pull them out of the bag and scrape off the blackened skin. It should come off with no problems at all.
Cut off the stems and take out the seeds and ribs and put the red pepper “meat” into the food processor.
Puree till smooth. (I used the mini-chopper attachment for my stick blender. I love that thing. The whisk attachment is beyond useless though.)
-Mince the garlic and onion
-Slice the mushrooms and sausages into similarly sized chunks. I 1/6th’d the mushrooms and cut the sausages into 1/2″ pieces, but I had big mushrooms and little sausages.
-Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet or saute pan and saute the garlic and onions until softened and starting to color
-Push the onions and garlic aside and turn the heat up to medium-high cook the mushrooms. Scatter them in the pan in a single layer and let them get some color before flipping. You may have to do multiple batches. As each batch gets properly seared push them aside to join the onions and mushrooms and sear the next batch.
-By this point the bottom of your pan should be covered in brown deliciousness. Sprinkle in a healthy pinch of salt and a couple of turns of pepper and the paprika and mix well into the veggies.
-Add the sausage and let them get a little crispy around the edges before turning the heat down to medium.
-Start the pasta cooking at this point in a pot full of well-salted boiling water.
-*Back to the saute pan* Pour in the white wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan (i.e. deglazing*) to get all those tasty bits in there.
-Add the stock, and bring to a simmer, lowering the heat if needed.
-Pour in the red pepper puree.
-Simmer till it thickens up a bit, and also till your sausage is cooked through if you are using a fresh sausage instead of a smoked (pre-cooked) sausage. If you are using a fresh sausage wait a little longer to start your pasta, and simmer with a lid so as not to dry out the sauce.
-Add cream at your discretion and taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
-Drain the pasta while it is still a bit too al dente and mix it into the sauce to finish cooking. If the sauce needs to be thinned out at all just add a splash of the pasta cooking water and mix well.
*Deglazing = scraping up the brown bits and letting them dissolve into some sort of liquid, typically wine or stock, in order to add extra deliciousness to a sauce or gravy.
I know I’ve got a wide range of cooking abilities in my 14 readers so I’m never sure whether to use specific terms or not. Thoughts, oh faithful readers?