It is time for another quick pasta dish. One of those that takes about as long as is needed to cook the pasta. It took me 22 minutes to cook this dish from start to finish, including taking all the photographs. This meal has all the major food groups: carbs, proteins, and vegetables. It is delicious and easy and you don’t need any processed foods. So don’t tell me you don’t have time to cook a proper meal from fresh ingredients when you got home from work. Instead, just prepare this and enjoy it with your family!
The combination of sweet Italian sausage with bell peppers works very well. Especially with some additional depth of flavor added by white wine, basil, cream, and tomato paste. The cream is important as it rounds out the tartness of the peppers, sausage, tomato, and wine.
An interesting note about sausage in pasta is that Italians usually take the sausage meat out of the casing and then crumble or chop it. If you make your own Italian sausage, you could take advantage of that fact by not putting the sausage meat into casings in the first place. If you can’t find good Italian sausage, you could substitute it with ground pork, minced garlic, and black pepper in this recipe.
Fusilli are one of my favorite pasta shapes, because they absorb the sauce so well. You could also make this with other pasta, but short pasta like penne or farfalle is preferred because of the chunky structure of the sauce. Long pasta like spaghetti is more adapted for a smoother sauce.
For 2 servings
150 grams (.33 lb) pork sausage meat, chopped
2 red bell peppers, cleaned and cut into strips similar to the size of the pasta you are using
150 grams (.33 lb) fusilli or other short pasta
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 clove garlic
a handful of basil leaves
freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, tilt the pan and fry a whole garlic clove until it is golden in the oil to flavor it. Once it is golden, discard the garlic clove.
When the water boils, add about a tablespoon of salt and 150 grams (.33 lb) of fusilli.
Add 150 grams (.33 lb) sausage meat to the garlic-infused oil.
Cook over medium high heat until the sausage meat has lost its raw color on all sides.
Add 2 red bell peppers cut into strips, and stir for a minute.
Add 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine.
Stir until the wine has reduced by about half.
Then, add about 2 Tbsp of heavy cream…
…and about a tablespoon of double concentrated tomato paste.
Stir to mix everything and cook over low heat until the sauce has a nice consistency (not too watery, not too thick).
Cut a handful of basil leaves into thin strips by first stacking the leaves, then rolling them up, and cutting them with a sharp knife. This technique is called “chiffonade”. It is better for the flavor than mincing the basil, because the basil won’t oxidize as much. For even better results, tear the basil with your hands into small pieces (but that would take more time). Aim at ending up with about a tablespoon of basil strips.
Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and add the pasta and the basil to the sauce. Turn off the heat.
Toss to mix, and add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta is too dry.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with some freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino.
Sarde a Beccafico is a great dish from Sicily. Sardines are stuffed with bread crumbs, raisins, anchovies, parsley, pine nuts, sugar, and baked in the oven with some orange juice. This dish is very tasty and easy to prepare if you ask the fishmonger to turn the sardines into fillets for you.