Monday, January 02, 2006

Penne Pasta With Italian Sausage & Peppers

Cleaning out my refrigerator almost always yields at least one surprise (and sometimes quite interesting) meal that involves lots of vegetables. I have this terrible habit of buying more fresh fruit and veggies than I can possibly use before they go bad. I haven't quite figured out why I do this, but I do know that I sometimes forget what I have because some things are so far back in the fridge that I just don't see them. To rid myself of this wasteful habit, I've started taking inventory at least once a week before I got to the market.

More often than not, the neglected, forgotten veggies usually end up reincarnated as some type of soup or stew, but not today. Though I did have to throw away a few things, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most items were still in pretty good shape. And when all was said and done, I managed to salvage enough odds and ends to put together a pretty decent Tuesday night dinner.

Today's haul of less-than-stellar produce was transformed into pasta with Italian sausage & peppers. Whenever I've made this dish in the past, I've usually had to run out to pick up one or more ingredients, but this evening I had everything I needed: yellow, green and orange bell peppers, onions, button and shiitake mushrooms, fresh bay leaves and fresh basil. I'm still amazed that the basil and bay leaves were in such good shape after a week. I definitely lucked out today.

Penne Pasta With Italian Sausage & Peppers
Source: My Own
Servings: 4 to 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds hot Italian sausage (casings removed)
1 large onion, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 in. strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 in. strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 in. strips
1 large red or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 in strips
4 oz. button mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thickly slices, stems discarded
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
3 fresh bay leaves
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes (Italian style)
1 cup tomato and mushroom pasta sauce (or homemade)
12 oz. penne pasta (or your favourite)
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and bay leaves. Cook, breaking up sausage into 1-inch chunks, until sausage is browned, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove sausage and mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add peppers and onions to pan and then garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano, tomatoes and pasta sauce. Add back the sausage and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve pasta in individual dishes topped with sausage, peppers, sauce and cheese. Enjoy!

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At Monday, January 02, 2006 8:35:00 PM, Blogger McRubble said...

That is good eating!

At Monday, January 02, 2006 10:02:00 PM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Thanks, McRubble! I think so, too.

At Tuesday, January 03, 2006 7:14:00 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

Wow, it was like looking in a mirror. I too, usually buy to many fruits, vegetables and herbs (they all look so fabulous in the market and so many dishes come to mind) and then find some of them in a sorry state at the back of the fridge. And like you, part of the reason is that the fridge is so full and somehow they migrate to the back.

Your pasta dish looks amazing. Last night we had spicy quesadillas with left over chicken and some wilty spinach, some mushrooms and red and vidallia onions. It is amazing how much can be done with what's left in the fridge.

Thanks for sharing.

At Tuesday, January 03, 2006 8:54:00 PM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Hey Ruth!

OMG! You, too! LOL It's good to know that I'm not the only person afflicted with this condition.

I really hate wasting food and it bugs me to no end when I find myself throwing out food that I or someone else could have used, particularly in light of the massive number of people who go without so often. I am consciously making every effort to stop the madness. Mos def!

Thanks for the visit and compliments! And yes, it is amazing what can be done with refrigerator leftovers.


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