I made a pasta dish a few weeks ago and forgot to post it. So here it is: Pasta with a roasted tomato and roasted red pepper sauce with spicy sausage.
I sure love pasta! Well, what I really love is the sauce. This is a pretty simple sauce with flavors intensified by roasting and caramelizing. I like to add flavor where I can and roasting, toasting or sautéing can deepen and sweeten flavors of veggies. I think the key to a great sauce is lots of flavor—not overpowering the intrinsic flavor of the ingredients by too much heat or spice but building layers of flavor that complement the sauce. Another key way to intensify flavor is by reducing sauce, such as in our balsamic reduction sauce but that is for another day J
I know we don’t always have an hour to make dinner. One way to enjoy this on a weeknight after work, is to make the sauce the night before. You can roast the tomatoes ahead of time or make the whole sauce and refrigerate it. One other time saving hint, if you are in a hurry you can use a can of fire roasted tomatoes in place of the roasted tomatoes.
To increase nutrition, you could use a whole grain pasta! Of course, for vegetarian version you can skip the sausage—this sauce is quite flavorful without the sausage!
Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta with Sausage
6-8 roma tomatoes ( or 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes *)
3 TBSp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
1/3 cup pesto, jarred or fresh
12-16 oz Spicy or hot Italian Sausage
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. Italian herb blend
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup whipping cream, optional
Cavatappi, cellentani or elbow pasta
1/3 cup fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
* You can skip the whole roasting tomatoes if you want and just use 1-2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, drained, if you are in a hurry.
Wash and quarter the roma tomatoes, removing most of the seeds . For easy clean up, put foil over large rectangular baking sheet with a rim. Then place 1 TBSP olive oil on pan.
Preheat oven to 350. Place in rectangular baking pan and drizzle with 2 TBSP olive oil and about a couple of teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Place in oven and roast for 40 minutes until tomatoes are nice and soft. Raise temperature to 400 and continue roasting for another 1o minutes to caramelize (brown) the tomatoes a bit.
While tomatoes are roasting, cut onion in half, removing ends and then cut in thin, vertical slices ( not rings). In a very large skillet on low heat, add oil and lightly caramelize onions by cooking on low for about 15 minutes. Once onions are soft, raise heat to med high for 3minutes or so to give them a little color. Once they are done, remove them to a bowl and cover.
In the same pan, add sausage, breaking it up in larger bite sized pieces as it browns. When sausage is almost cooked, add garlic and spices. Cook till completely browned through and drain off extra grease. Return onions to pan.
Using a food processor, pulse roasted tomatoes for a minute or so until mostly pureed. Add roasted red peppers, drained, and pesto and pulse until sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour this into the pan with sausage and onion and heat together for about 5 minutes on medium low. Add salt and pepper to taste.
All of this can be made ahead of time and reheated for dinner.
About 15 minutes before time to serve, heat a large pot of salted water and once it is rigorously boiling, slowly add the pasta. Heat to boiling again and keep an eye out for boil overs.
Drain the pasta in a colander and add the sausage onions and pureed peppers/tomatoes sauce to the big pan. If desired add ½ cup of cream for extra creaminess. Blend and heat up sauce till nice and hot but not boiling. Add the pasta in and stir in half of the parm cheese. Plate the pasta and garnish with cheese, if desired. Serve