Sunday, February 28, 2010

Italian Sausage and Sweet Pepper Ragu

The sweet peppers are the main attraction in this dish. Enjoy!

1/2 lb of italian sausage removed from casing
2 large yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, chopped, medium-large size pieces
1 small-medium onion, chopped small 
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 jar prepared tomato pasta sauce- I use Ragu b/c I always get it on sale
1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1tbsp sugar or honey- cuts acid in tomato and balances out flavor

Seasoning to taste:
italian seasoning
red pepper flakes
onion powder- adds a different layer of onion flavor
garlic powder- adds a different layer of garlic flavor
21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's

Serve with:
12oz-16oz box whole wheat rotini or penne
Cook in stock if you'd like an extra layer of flavor

Saute meat & break up as it cooks. Let it brown and caramelize a bit. Add peppers and onions, saute until onions are softened. Season this layer of flavor. 

Add sauce, tomatoes, and sugar. Let it warm through to let the flavors meld together. Taste it for seasoning and the sweet/acidic balance. Add more sugar or salt if needed. Season again. 

Simmer while pasta is cooking. Drain pasta and place back into pot. Add sauce and combine. 

The large sweet pepper pieces make this sauce a little different than my regular tomato sauce. The spice of the sausage along with the sweetness of the peppers  is a great balance. The flavors in this dish are balanced so well that you don't need to serve it with cheese. I found that the traditional parmesan sprinkle threw the balance off. So, save some calories. Believe me, you won't miss it!