If there is one meal I know to make for a special occasion for J.O. in this household, it’s our Spicy Sausage, Peppers and Pasta recipe. It’s one of the few recipes I know by heart, but that’s probably because it holds a special place in mine.
When we first started dating one of our first dates was taking a road trip down to Red Wing, MN. It was late September and we stopped at an apple orchard on our drive down, relaxed at a park on the river and ate at what soon came to be one of our favorite restaurants, The Staghead. There, we had their spicy sausage and peppers pasta and we fell in love….with the pasta. The two of us had already figured out the love between us. For years we would often drive back just for this amazing dish. Sadly, the restaurant did not survive and we had to figure out a way to recreate this dish. With a little help of good old Martha Stewart and my memory on what made the Stagheads recipe so good, this is what we came up with. To us, it’s a dish that brings back memories and is a romantic dish. It’s also a comfort food and is even better reheated!
You will need:
- 1 pound spicy Italian Sausage (if incased, remove from casing) Turkey Sausage is fine, but you’ll want to add some more olive oil when browning
- 2 Bell Peppers (not green) cored, seeded and cut into 4 sections to lay flat
- 4 cups of penne pasta or what ever your favorite short noodle pasta is!
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- If you like spice like we do, 1-2 tbls crushed red pepper. Otherwise, just do 1/2 tlb
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tbls (2-3 cloves) fresh garlic chopped
- 3/4-1 cup of parmesan cheese…Powdered works best, use shaved or grated for your garnish
- Pinch of Salt and roughly 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
- Olive Oil
- A large pan that will start with just your sausage, but will eventually hold everything.
- Mix into your sausage your Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. I like to let the meat sit for 10-15 min for the flavors to blend before browning. You can also start browning in a large pan right away.
- Lay your peppers on a lined cookie sheet, skin side up and place under the broiler for 10-15 min. You are roasting them, so you want the majority of the skin to char black.
- Start boiling your water. I like to put a smashed clove of garlic in my water too!
- Once your meat is browned, do not drain. Set aside/keep warm.
- Once your peppers are charred, remove them from the cookie sheet and place into an air tight container container for 3-4 minuets.
- You should be ready to start cooking your noodles.
- With a paper towel in each hand, you’re going to remove the charred skin from the peppers. You’ll understand why it’s best that the skin is charred here! Slice each roasted pepper into strips and add to the sausage pan and keep on low heat
- Once your pasta is cooked, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Add cooked pasta to the sausage and peppers.
- Mix in butter, reserved pasta water, parmesan cheese and olive oil.