For some it’s a warm bowl of chicken soup. For others, Fried Chicken or Mac and Cheese.
For me, Baked Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions with a side of Cheesy Pasta.
Oh, and maybe Girl Scout Thin Mints as long as we’re being honest.
Here’s what you need:
Italian Sausage Links, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Pasta, Butter, Flour, Milk, Parmesan or Romano Cheese, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.
UPDATE: 2 little changes since this recipe was originally posted: Add a bit of olive oil to the peppers and onions and adjust the amount of sauce you make for the pasta depending on if you have a full pound box of noodles.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grab and extra large onion – cut it in half and then cut in slices across the top.
Break up the wedges of onion as you put them into a large (at least 9×13) baking dish.
Remove the seeds, core and inner membranes from the bell peppers and slice them up.
Add the peppers to the pan with the onions. Toss the peppers and onions in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with the links of Italian Sausage. Prick each sausage a few times on the top and bottom sides with a sharp knife.
These little holes will release the juices of the sausage into the veggies causing good things to happen. They will also keep the sausages from blowing up all over your oven.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees. After 20 minutes, remove the foil so that the sausages can brown.
When the sausages are nice and golden brown on the tops, turn them over to brown on the other side.
After 1 hour of total cooking time, you’ll have lovely browned sausages and tender peppers and onions full of flavor.
You could totally stop here, grab a crusty roll and load it up with these babies ballpark style.
OR you could make some pasta and serve it with your favorite marinara sauce. Simple and delicious.
OR you could make some pasta and make a quick cheesy sauce. Heck yeah.
By now you know how to make pasta…boil water, salt the water, toss in the pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes, drain the pasta.
UPDATE: It has since come to my attention (thanks Wes!) that I was working with a bag of pasta that was only about 3/4 of a pound. This drives me nuts! I’d rather just pay an extra 25 cents and have a full pound of pasta. If you are using a whole pound, you will want to increase the amount of milk and cheese to have a little more ample sauce on your cheesy noodles.
For the quick sauce, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pot.
Add 2 Tablespoons of flour and stir to make a roux or thickening paste.
Gradually add 1-1/2 cups milk and whisk to remove all the lumps of flour. Cook over medium low heat to thicken.
This is a basic white sauce and also the same way you start to make mac and cheese. To stay with the Italian theme, add a heaping cup of grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese. I’m using my trusty favorite Pecorino Romano.
Stir the cheese into the thickened sauce. Add the pasta and stir it all together. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk to the pasta to thin things out.
Serve the cheesy pasta with the Italian Sausage. Don’t forget the peppers and onions from the bottom of the pan!
My neighbor Liz makes this dish in a sort of German style. Instead of serving pasta, she lays thinly sliced potatoes in a layer in the pan under the peppers and onions. One dish…many great options.
Here’s the recipe: