Sausage and Peppers Fusilli

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 1

I love sausage and peppers, it’s a classic combination that is good in a sandwich or on its own. For a quick weeknight meal for one, I combine sweet Italian sausage with sliced bell peppers, onions and garlic, stir it into bottled pasta sauce which I enliven with some spices, and serve it up over fusilli pasta. You can of course serve it over any short cut pasta you may have, like penne or ziti. Finish it off with a sprinkle of parsley and lots of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Why it works

This is a great freezer/pantry meal, especially if you make pasta a lot. I always keep a bottle of pasta sauce as well as all types of pasta in the pantry. Italian sausage can be easily frozen by links in small food storage bags, and you just need to defrost 1 – 2 links in the refrigerator for this meal. Onions and garlic are another pantry staple. You may need to stop by the store to get red or green bell peppers for this dish, but I get around that by freezing my bell peppers too! All you have to do is core the bell pepper, seed it, and slice it. Place the slices on a little toaster oven tray or plate and put in the freezer until semi-frozen. Then slip the slices into a food storage bag and keep in the freezer for up to three months. When you need some bell pepper slices, you can just take the amount you need from the bag until it is all used up.

How it’s done

Start by prepping the onions, peppers and garlic and setting it aside. Then crumble the Italian sausage out of its casing into a small non-stick skillet and drizzle in a little olive oil. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until well browned, then drain sausage on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the fat out of the skillet you just used to brown the sausage and add a little more olive oil. Cook the onions, peppers and garlic on medium-low heat about 10 minutes, until softened. You can cook a little longer if you like your peppers and onions very tender.

The rest is easy. Just add your spices, salt and pepper, and reserved browned sausage to the skillet, along with some bottled pasta sauce and a little water. Heat together over medium heat about 10 minutes, until heated through. By now your pasta should be done. Drain if you haven’t done so already and stir all the contents from the skillet into the pasta and stir. Ready to serve!

Sausage and Peppers Fusilli

Ingredients

1 cup fusilli pasta

Olive oil

1 – 2 links sweet Italian sausage

1/2 a small onion, sliced thin

1/2 a red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

1 clove garlic, sliced

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp dried thyme

1/8 tsp salt

Few grinds of black pepper

A pinch of red pepper flakes

3/4 cup bottled pasta sauce, your favorite brand

1/4 cup water

1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

Directions

Fill a medium saucepan with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Add fusilli pasta, stir and reduce heat to a strong simmer. Cook 10 – 15 minutes, until tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet add a drizzle of olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into the skillet. Cook until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove sausage to a paper-towel lined plate and pour the fat out of the skillet into a small container (discard fat when cooled).

In the same skillet add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and bell peppers. Cook about 10 minutes, until softened and tender. Stir in the sliced garlic and cook a minute. Add the oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir the reserved browned sausage into the skillet and pour in the pasta sauce and water. Stir to combine.

Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook about 10 minutes, until heated through.

Stir contents of skillet into the drained cooked fusilli and stir over low heat to combine. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, and with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on top.


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