Now that our children have all flown the coop, pasta is not often on the dinner menu in our home. Funny how that happened. Pasta for dinner was such a mainstay when the kids were home. In fact, their most requested dinner when they visit is still and big bowl of Pesto Shrimp. That recipe is a family favorite! But without the kids in the house, pasta is just not on the menu as much. Well that changed when I made up a batch of sweet chicken Italian sausage and pepper pasta.
I saw a version of this recipe on my WW app, and I thought I would make up a batch for dinner. The batch was huge! So big that we enjoyed it for two dinners, and I also packed some for lunch one day. I loved that when I got home from work late, two days after making this dinner, that I was able to open the refrigerator door and see a nice bowl of leftover pasta ready to reheat and enjoy with a fresh salad. Perfect!
This dish is so full of vegetables that it is healthy plus scrumptious. With only half of the bag of pasta (8 oz.) used, the meal is veggie heavy and then rounded out with the smaller amount of whole wheat pasta. The sweet chicken Italian sausage gives it the staying power of protein with the sweet Italian flavor my family loves. The red chill pepper flakes give it a bit of a bite – so use to your taste. The wine adds richness to the whole dish. Be sure to use good wine in this recipe! The wine is added to the sliced onion and peppers as they are cooking. The onions totally soak up the wine, giving the onions (and the dish) a nice deep flavor.
Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- 1 pound sweet chicken Italian sausage, uncooked and removed from casings
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, extra- virgin
- 2 yellow peppers cut into 2-inch thin strips
- 1 yellow onion, very thinly sliced (I use my mandoline slicer)
- 1/2 cup red wine (Use good wine! The onions totally soak up the wine giving them a wonderful rich flavor)
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz. whole wheat fusilli pasta
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Fill a large pasta pot with water and set to boil over high heat.
- Cook sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium-heat, stirring and breaking up sausage with a wooden spatula. Cook throughly, about five minutes; remove from skillet and keep warm.
- Add olive oil to skillet and cook yellow peppers and onion. Stir frequently and cook until vegetable are lightly colored and crisp-tender, about five minutes.
- Add wine and garlic to vegetables; cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper, salt and browned sausage; bring sauce to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and sauce is heated through, about 10 more minutes.
- While sauce simmers, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
- Drain pasta; return to pot and add sausage sauce, mix to fully coat pasta.
- Transfer pasta and sauce to serving platter. Top with fresh cut basil and gently fold basil into pasta.
This recipe is a keeper!
I love my mandoline slicer! This works great when I need to get extra thin slices of many vegetables.