One of my favorite dishes is sausage, peppers, and onions cooked slowly on the grill, then stuffed in a freshly baked hard roll. I usually make more than we can eat, and the leftovers end up in a red sauce. (That is, if my son-in-law doesn’t take them home.)
The variety of peppers used in this dish can considerably change the flavor of the sauce. Green bell peppers simmered in the sauce results in a more traditional, savory bell pepper flavor while red, orange, and yellow peppers will sweeten up the sauce. Every now and then, I throw in a hot pepper. That really gives the sauce a good, hard kick.
Truthfully, when I make this dish, I use whatever I have on hand. Today, I used both green and red bell peppers, and yellow and Italian red onions. The flavor of the peppers and onions is phenomenal, and just downright delicious when it simmers in the crushed tomatoes along with the sausage. I can’t think of a better way to end my day.
- 2 large yellow onions
- 4 green bell peppers
- 1 35-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
- 1 hot cubanelle or a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound Italian link sausage, mild or hot
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 basil leaves, torn
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound Rigatoni
- 5 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
- Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste
- Slice sausage into ¼-inch rounds, and brown in oil over medium heat. Remove from pan. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper in the remaining oil. Press garlic two or three times to release flavor; saute until garlic starts to turn colors. Remove garlic from pan. Add peppers, hot pepper (if using), and onions; mix together. Cover, and cook until peppers and onions are tender.
- Use your hands or a food mill and crush tomatoes over peppers. Add basil leaves, sausage, and salt; mix well. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Adjust salt to taste.
- Bring water and 1 tablespoon salt to a full boil. Add rigatoni, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes, or until the rigatoni is al dente. Drain well, and toss with red sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.