Sausages are frequently combined with Bell Peppers in Italian cuisine and the various permutations on the basic theme are just about endless. When grilled or fried together, often with onions or tomatoes as well as other seasonings, they make a great sandwich filling and they can even be served cold as an antipasto dish. With extra tomatoes, one can use them, as I am doing today, as a delicious sauce over pasta…
- 2 pre-cooked Italian Sausages (Sweet or Hot);
- 3 small Peppers (red, yellow, and orange);
- 1 small Jalapeno;
- 1 medium to large Tomato;
- ½ a small Onion;
- 1 tsp. chopped Garlic;
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped Thyme;
- 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped Parsley;
- 1 pinch each Salt and Pepper;
- 2 portions Pasta of choice.
First, slice the onion lengthwise into thin slivers and do the same with the Bell Peppers, then chop the tomatoes into small dice and cut the Jalapeno into very thin slivers. You can slice the sausage however you like but cutting on the bias makes for an attractive preparation. Most recipes start with uncooked sausage but I find that pre-cooking helps to get rid of a lot of the greasy fat that can make the end result a little too cloying.
If you like, you can now put your pasta on to cook as it will be ready more or less by the time the sauce is finishing. To begin, you can simply heat your sausage in a fry-pan or, do as I do, and cook them in a ridged pan to get some nice grill marks and add a bit of smoky flavor. However you do them, set them aside and keep them warm when done.
Next, turn the heat under your pan to very high and quickly fry the onion and bell pepper strips until they soften and begin to in places. When this is done, transfer everything to the same receptacle as the sausage slices and keep warm.
Add 4 or 5 tablespoons of good quality olive oil to the pan and put in the garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook down to a nice sauce. You will need to add water (or even a little white wine) to the pan to keep a good liquid level as the tomato flesh breaks down. If you are cooking the pasta at the same time, some of the pasta cooking water will do just fine.
Finally, add the herbs and Jalapeno along with the salt and pepper and, after a minute or so, add back the sausages, onion and peppers. Coo through and serve over the pasta. Garnish with a little chopped parsley if desired and pass grated cheese at the table.