Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sausage and Pepper Stew

I'm sorry I've fallen behind on my tried-and-true recipe postings. It's been crazy here! OK, enough whining, on with the cooking.

This recipe is from the February/March 1999 Fine Cooking. Anytime I get tired of trying new things and ask my husband what he wants me to cook next, I always get the same reply...Sausage and Pepper Stew.

I, of course, take several shortcuts. I have included the original recipe here, but I don't tie up a bouquet garni - I just dump dried basil into the soup (so much for "fine cooking" at my house). I also cut the sausage up into small pieces before sauteing in oil, rather than leaving them whole. I don't use 3 tbsp olive oil - I just mist a little olive oil in the pot I cook the stew in. (I'm sure the sausage is enough fat for one recipe.) And double the recipe because this freezes well!

Sausage & Pepper Stew

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 lb hot Italian sausages
1 med. onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
28-oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped (I use diced though)
2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked small pasta (tubetti, ditali or shells)
5 sprigs fresh basil and 5 sprigs fresh mint, tied together in a bouquet garni
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over med-hi heat. Add the sausages and onion; cook, turning the sausages to brown all sides, until the onions are just tender, about 8 min. Add the garlic and bell peppers and cook another couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, pasta, basil, mint, salt and pepper (make sure the pasta is submerged). Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid starts to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the sausages feel firm and the pasta is tender, about 25 min. Cut the sausages into slices or leave whole for serving.

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