Happy Tuesday! If you’re like me, your weeknight evenings are precious – and short. If you work a lot like I do, you get home at 6:30 or 7pm most nights. You have calls starting at 9pm. That leaves two hours to make and eat dinner, clean up, relax and get back to the grind. For me, that means most nights during the week, we end up going out for mediocre restaurant food to save the cooking and cleaning time. But, with a few great “Weeknight Wonder” recipe’s, you can have a delicious homemade meal in no time flat.

Enter The Homemade Chef original recipe for the classic Italian delight:

Weeknight Sausage and Pepper Penne 

Approximate Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 gourmet sausages – recommended 1 hot and 1 mild, but choose whatever you like. I like the ones from the deli versus the pre-packaged ones

3 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced (choose whatever color(s) you like)

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

28 OZ Tomato Sauce or Crushed Red Tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Olive Oil

1 lb Penne Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Red chili flakes to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place sausages on a greased baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes (depending on size) until browned and fully cooked. Meanwhile, slice the peppers and onions – I like to slice them approximately the same size, I think it’s nicer to eat a composed dish or pasta when the ingredients are the same size. Mince the garlic. Boil and salt the water for the pasta. When a rapid boil is reached, cook the penne according to the box directions, but test the pasta 2 minutes under the cooking time. You want the pasta slightly al dente since you’ll finish cooking it in the sauce. Drain the pasta but reserve some pasta water, and toss with some oil to prevent from sticking. Set reserved pasta water and pasta aside.

Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet or cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Add 2 TBSP olive oil and add the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but remember the sausage will have a lot of salt, so be cautious on how much salt you add now! When the sausages are finished, remove them and let them rest for 5 minutes. Slice on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices. When the peppers and onions are cooked and starting to caramelize (brown), add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage, combine and check for seasoning. Reduce heat to a simmer. If the pasta is too tart, add some white sugar 1 TSP at a time until you reach a taste you like. Add the minced garlic and red chili flakes to achieve your desired heat level. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes and add the pasta and combine. Let the sauce cook for 2-3 more minutes so the pasta absorbs the sauce and the penne becomes filled with sauce. If the dish becomes too dry, add 1/4 cup of the cooking water; it will loosen the sauce but not change the flavor of the dish.

Just before serving, verify seasoning and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!

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