Do I love Spaghetti? Let me count the ways. Wait, the ways are countless. I have some favorites but basically I love Spaghetti in any way you make it, provided it’s a nice “condimento” that you’re pairing it with. A Condimento is whatever you’re dressing the pasta with. There’s a big world of Italian and Non Italian ingredients out there to pair with Spaghetti, but I prefer to stick with Italian combinations. I can’t tell you how much I love Sausage and Peppers and Onions, that classic Napoletana and ItalianAmerican pairing. One night when I was craving both Spaghetti and Sausage and Peppers I decided to combine them. Yeah, I’m not the first to have done that, but i created a dish that is so good I want to share it with you
Let’s start is some basics. Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage, the best is generally found at a shop where it’s made daily, like an Italian Pork Store (Salumeria) or a Butcher shop, or some of the larger regional Supermarket where it’s still made in house. I realize this isn’t an option Nationally but if you can find such places, get your Italian Sausage there. There’s a difference. What? Quite often the commerical/industrial produced sausages are over ground, they are too fine and they have lots of added flavors that really have no place in an Italian sausage. Now about the peppers. The Italian LONG HOT. Here in the Northeast in all of our ItalianAmerican concentrated areas this is a common site in home gardens or in Farmers MArkets and some supermarkets. Sort of Curly they come in Green, Green and Red, and Red. If no Long Hots are too be found, use Ripe Red Bell Peppers and add a good sprinkling of Hot Pepper Flakes in the saute’ (Peperoncino). Now let’s make some spaghetti!!!
SPAGHETTI WITH SAUSAGE AND ITALIAN LONG HOT PEPPERS AND ONIONS
1 1/2 LBS SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE OUT OF THE CASING
4 ITALIAN LONG HOT PEPPERS, DE-SEEDED, RIBS CUT OUT, SLICE INTO STRIPS OR RINGS
2 CUBANELLE PEPPERS (ITALIAN FRYING PEPPERS), DE-SEEDED, SLICE INTO STRIPS OR RINGS
1/2 PINT SLICED CHERRY TOMATOES
BASIL LEAVES OPTIONAL/PINCH OF OREGANO OPTIONAL
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 lb good IMPORTED ITALIAN SPAGHETTI OR BUCATINI
Let’s make this simple. Add about 2 tbs of olive oil to a large heavy pan. Heat. Add the Sausage and cook for at least 10 minutes, till it’s caramelized (THAT IS FLAVOR!!), then remove with slotted spoon to a dish. If needed, add more olive oil, heat and then simply fry up the onions and peppers, seasoning with a little salt. (No pepper needed if using the Long Hots, if using the Sweet long peppers, season with black pepper). Fry but on medium so they can cook and soften without burning or getting too brown around the edges. After 10 minutes of cooking, add the tomatoes. When the onions and peppers and tomatoes are soft, give it about 20 minutes, then add the sausage meat and ALL the juices that collected on the bottom of the pan. Let the sausage peppers and onions now simmer on low. While that magic is happening in the pan, resist the urge to just dig in and cook the Spaghetti till al dente according to the package instructions. When the spaghetti is at the right spot remove it with tongs from the water gently and add to the pan of sausage, long hots and onions. For a more “saucy” texture add a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Or just leave as is and cook for 2 minutes. Take off the heat. At this point you are done unless you want additional flavor from basil or oregano. Toss in whichever you prefer at this time. CHEESE? for me? Yes. For many there’s this no grated (Pecorino or Parmigiano) cheese on Sausage dishes. I’m not debating it so this falls under the IT’S UP TO YOU. Personally, the salty sharpness of the Pecorino Romano just tops this dish off for me. This should satisfy 3-4 really hungry people. HAPPY COOKING!!!!