Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta
Looking for a light pasta dish? Move along, please, you’ve landed in the wrong spot ;).
When I was a kid and young adult I used to look forward to the San Gennaro festival in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City every year. Sparkly banners hung over a multi-square block area, and the streets were filled with throngs of people. The point of the festival was to honor Saint Gennaro, an Italian bishop who died a martyr, but the event was (and is) actually called the Feast of San Gennaro (“the feast to end all feasts”) and if you are thinking the food is the main event of the festival, you are correct.
There were loads of food stands, and – in my hazy memory – the ones that had the longest lines were the ones serving overstuffed subs/hoagies/whatever you call them filled with sausages and peppers and onions. The smells were amazing, imaginary cartoon curlicues hooking guests by the nose and drawing them to the stands. This is the pasta version of those sandwiches, easier to serve for a crowd, and more dinner-feeling.
You can use hot sausage, or sweet sausages or a combination. You can use turkey sausages, pork sausages, even chicken sausages. Buy the uncooked sausages, not the pre-cooked ones. The browning of the sausages seasons the pan, and provides a base level of flavor that you will build upon when you saute the peppers and onions.
Ziti is a classic choice, but you can use any pasta you like, from short chunky shapes, like penne or rigatoni, or even long strands, like spaghetti or linguine. Short pasta shapes sometimes are available with the word “rigate” which means ridges, and those ridges help the past hold onto the sauce really well.
Sausage and Peppers Pasta: The classic italian combo, in a rich tomato sauce with the pasta of your choice.Tweet This
Canned Tomatoes for Sauce
Some diced and crushed tomatoes come in more of a juice, and some come in a thicker puree. Both are fine here, but the ones in the thicker puree will obviously yield a thicker sauce. You can thin a too-thick sauce with additional cooking water from the pasta if you like. I’ve found some lovely 14 ounce cans of sweet cherry tomatoes from Italy which I’ve roughly chopped to use in the sauce.
If you want to top the finished pasta with some slivered fresh basil or fresh oregano leaves, that would be a lovely, lovely touch.
What to Serve with Ziti with Sausage, Peppers and Onions:
- Salsa Verde Garlic Bread
- Caesar Salad with Garlicky Croutons
- Endive, Arugula and Orange Salad
- 3 Great and Really Simple Green Salads
- Roasted Carrots
Other Italian Pasta Dishes:
- Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine
- Best Turkey Lasagna
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti
- Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
- Cacio e Pepe
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Sausage and Peppers Pasta
- ¼ cup olive oil , divided
- 1 pound Italian turkey or pork sausages , sweet or hot
- 2 red bell peppers , cored, seeded and sliced lengthwise
- 2 large onions , halved and sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ cup Marsala wine
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 can (14 ½ ounce ) diced or crushed tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound dried ziti
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan , plus more to serve
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook them, turning as they brown, until they are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate.
- Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the peppers and the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, and cook for one minute until you can smell the garlic. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer.
- Slice the sausages about ½-inch thick and add them to the pan. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir ½ to ¾ cup of the cooking wter into the sauce, depending on how thick you like your sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl, and sprinkle with the ¼ cup Parmesan. Serve hot, with the rest of the Parmesan passed on the side.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.