A quick weeknight dinner featuring savory Italian sausage and sweet peppers simmered in a ‘semi-homemade’ sauce that’s then tossed with Rigatoni noodles cooked to al dente perfection.
The trick to achieving bold and delicious flavor is using a high quality Italian sausage and searing it in a frying pan before letting it finish cooking in the sauce.
My neighbor Sarah raves about the Italian sausage sold at the little farm-town grocery store here in Keenesburg, Colorado. The store is owned by an older couple and the husband, who’s also the butcher, makes it himself which is pretty neat. 🙂
On a whim I picked up a package and had to figure out what to do with it so I made sausage and peppers, “Rigatoni style!”
(FYI, you can use two large bell peppers or instead use the equivalent in mini peppers)
Begin by sweating the peppers and onion in olive oil.
If you have the opportunity to pick up a high-end bottle of olive oil I strongly urge you to do so! My husband’s grandma brought me two bottles of the good stuff from the Durango Olive Oil Company and I’m in love! I never knew what I was missing!
Thanks Grammy Mary 🙂
Saute until soft. Then add the garlic cooking for a few minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it becomes bitter!
Now add the petite diced tomatoes (do not drain), the oregano, salt, sugar, and jar of marinara sauce. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I take shortcuts during the work/school week and use jarred sauces… often. 🙂
If you make your own homemade marinara sauce use approximately 3 cups as a substitute.
While you bring the sauce to a boil, cut up the Italian sausage and sear it on each side until golden brown, but no longer than a few minutes! You want to finish cooking the sausage in the sauce.
Place the browned sausage into the sauce, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Boil the rigatoni to an al dente state and then toss it in the sauce and serve with or without cheese on top!
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”
Italian Sausage and Peppers Rigatoni
For the sauce:
- 2 Bell Peppers
- 1 medium yellow Onion
- Good quality Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
- 24 oz. jar Marinara Sauce (or 3 cups homemade)
- 14.5 oz. can petite diced Tomatoes, undrained
- 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 pound Italian Sausage, links
- 16 oz. box Rigatoni noodles
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Dice the whole onion and cut the bell pepper into thick strips. In a large sauce pot, saute the onion and pepper in 2-3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil. Once softened add the garlic and simmer for a few minutes longer until fragrant. Now add the jar of marinara sauce, canned tomatoes (do not drain), oregano, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil.
While the sauce is coming to a boil, cut the sausage links into 1-1/2″ pieces. Use a frying pan over medium heat and sear them on both sides until golden brown. Carefully place the sausages in the sauce. Now cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Boil the rigatoni noodles in heavily salted water according to package instructions. If you like a saucy dish, only boil 1/2-3/4 of the package of pasta. Strain the noodles and add them to the sauce pot, stirring carefully. Top with Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.
Pairs well with garlic bread and a side salad.