Rigatoni and Italian Sausage

It didn’t take us long to get past the holiday tiredness of cooking, baking and cleaning.   This past week, we were starting to get cooking again.   On Thursday, we had Caprese Burger for dinner, and for Friday, we had the Black Eyed Peas and Steamed Cabbage and Sausage for our dinner.   Hubby prepared the Black Eyed Peas while I was at work, so we’re having it again because it was sooo good, and also so I can blog about it and share with you.  In the meantime, Sunday we had an Italian dinner going.   We had a somewhat Semi-homemade Marinara Sauce with Rigatoni and Italian Sausage.   We got the recipe from one of those TV shows many many years ago, and we could have swear that the recipe was Rachael Ray’s.   However, both Hubby and I looked online and just couldn’t find it, and now was wondering if we had mixed two recipes into one.   Who knows.   All we know is that this marinara sauce was very good and easy to make.   I wonder now, as I was typing this post, could we have utilize the crock pot to simmer the marinara sauce?   We’ll have to try that next time.

I said above that the sauce is semi-homemade.   It was.  The sauce came from a jar.   It was called Ragu.  The additional flavor though, was the homemade part.   The peppers, onion, garlic, mushrooms and the herbs make up the additional flavor.   So, shall we begin?

We needed the Ragu marinara sauce.   In this instance, we picked the chunky mushroom one because of no other reason than I love mushrooms.   Then we needed the bell peppers (green, orange, red, you name it – I used those mini peppers that I got from Sams), cubanelle pepper, onion, garlic, mushroom, basil and parsley.



So then I chopped up the veggies and herbs, getting them ready, as well as pulled out the additional spices such as salt, pepper, red cooking wine.



Then Hubby poured the olive oil to get ready to sauté the onion and garlic.   We got this new 14 inch pan for Christmas, and I’m telling you, it is huge!  I had to go to Walmart and get a 16 inch pizza pan since it didn’t come with a lid.



Then he dropped in the onions and chopped garlic and sweated them.



Then he added the colorful peppers in…



Stirred them around…



Salted and peppered it…



And then added the herbs. First it was the parsley.



Then the chopped basil.



Then he added the Ragu sauce…



At this point also, Hubby poured some Red Cooking wine inoto the pan as well. Mixed them around and let it come to a boil.



Then, we were getting ready to mess with the Italian sausage.



This is the pasta we got, just a store brand pasta.



We opened up the Italian sausage package, put the sausages into a pan and added water to the pan.  We then pricked the sausages with a fork so that they would … well, I wasn’t sure why we did that. I just remember we did long time ago… but when I looked online if there are any reasons to prick sausages, some said not to do that to good sausages. Who knows!



In the meantime, we turned down the heat and stirred the sauce from time to time so that it wouldn’t get burnt.



Then we also added the olive oil into the sausage pan – this would help them brown later on.



We let the water come to a boil, and then let it simmer and covered them.



Then, we browned them on a low heat to make sure that they were cooked.



We added the mushroom to the marinara sauce last…



Mixed them up, and let them simmer again.



In the meantime, we cut up the sausages into three big chunks.



Dumped them into the marinara sauce pan, stirred them up, and let it cook some more…



While we were waiting for the sauce to simmer some more, we started to get hungry.   We munched on these cheeses.  Hubby read from the local newspaper that three of the Kroger’s stores in Houston will start selling cheese from Murray’s Cheese Shop.  Apparently it is a gourmet cheese shop based in New York.  So of course that morning we drove to Kroger, and bought some samples for us.

Clockwise from the crackers were Swiss Emmentaler, Welsh Cheddar, Irish Cheddar, and a Gouda that has been aged for one year. The taste test result?  Well, the Gouda was the sharpest among the four.   Although it was sharp, it didn’t have that bitter taste like the Gouda I got from Sam’s Club.  The Irish Cheddar tasted very mild, creamy, crumbly, and has a nutty flavor.  Then the Welsh Cheddar was creamy, mild with a hint of nuttiness, and a touch of tanginess.   The Swiss Emmentaler was the very mildest amongst the four.  It was nutty, crumbly but dry.



Hubby likes the Welsh Cheddar best, while I like the Gouda best.  Of course Hubby said, I like the most expensive ones.   Just like when we had to pick our granite countertop when we remodeled our kitchen.  Well, the contractor didn’t give us a price list, and I just pick among the samples he gave us.  So that was accidentally, or I just have a good taste.   That’s all!

So back to the dinner, I cooked the pasta to an al dente.



Drained them…



Put them onto a plate….



And scooped up the marinara sauce and Italian Sausage on top of the pasta…



Grated some Parmesan cheese on top… and dinner was ready!



The pasta was perfect, not too chewy, not mushy.  The sauce was delicious.  The sweetness of the peppers, the chunkiness of the mushrooms, and the aromatic and flavor of the sausages were just a perfect combination.   It sure did beat a plain marinara sauce from a jar!   Bon appetite!



Print recipe here.

Rigatoni with Italian Sausage

1 jar Pasta sauce
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow/orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cubanelle or banana pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 oz sliced mushroom
Fresh Basil and parsley, chopped
Red cooking wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1/2 lb Rigatoni pasta, cook according to package and drain.
1 lbs Italian sausage
Parmesan Cheese for topping

In a pan, cook the sausage by putting them in a pan with water.  Prick the sausages, add Olive oil, cook in medium low heat until water evaporates.  Brown sausages and cut into chunky pieces.

In a large sauce pan, heat up oil in medium high heat.  Sauté garlic and onion until onion starts to turn translucent.  Add chopped peppers and herbs.  Mix them together.  Then pour the pasta sauce out of the jar into the pan, add salt, pepper and about one tablespoon or two tablespoons of red cooking wine to taste.  Add in mushroom and cut up Italian Sausage.  Let it cook and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Serve the sauce over pasta, top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

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