Vegetable loaded marinara sauce with a full pound of mushrooms, lots of colorful bell peppers, spicy Italian sausage and just a handful of pasta thrown into the mix; this dish was a great way to satisfy my craving for Italian food. Ready and on the table in about 30 minutes, this is a quick and easy weeknight meal.
8 ounces of a small shaped pasta, I used a brown rice ziti
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
16-20 ounces baby bella or crimini mushrooms, quartered or cut into sixths
2 large yellow and red bell beppers, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 small sweet yellow onion, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic, adjust to taste
1 quart Five Minute Marinara Sauce (recipe copied below)
finely shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese for topping
Cook the pasta until it is the tenderness that you desire. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook while it cools. Melt the butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until it begins to soften.
Add the bell peppers and the mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and continue sauteing until the peppers soften and the mushrooms are browned and tender. Drain any liquid from the pan and sprinkle with the remaining salt and the garlic. Saute for just a minute more and then transfer to a waiting bowl.
Add the sausage to the pan, cook and crumble it over medium heat. Drain any grease and then add the cooked vegetables to the pan with the meat. Stir to combine and make sure everything is still hot. Pour the marinara sauce into the pan and stir to coat everything well. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently to combine.
Serve immediately, with cheese sprinkled on each serving. Or, transfer the mixture to an oven safe dish, top with cheese and bake in a hot oven for just a few minutes, until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!
Five Minute Marinara Sauce
Yield: 1 quart
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 – 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, the full amount makes a very spicy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes (not diced, not pureed, not whole, no additional seasonings at all)
zest of one lemon
Combine the olive oil, pepper flakes, salt and garlic in a cold
saucepan. Stir while you heat the pan over medium high heat. Saute for
45 seconds to a minute, just until everything is fragrant. Avoid letting
the garlic turn brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle
simmer, this should only take a couple minutes.
Remove from the heat and taste the sauce. If it needs more salt, add it
now. Stir in the lemon zest and taste again. Try not to eat the entire
pot of sauce with a spoon.