Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Happy Hangover - Sausage and Peppers Linguine Dinner

I woke up with what seemed to be a hangover.  Since I rarely drink, that was unexpected and extraordinarily annoying.  And painful.  And that was the end of my plans to get some food shopping done.  Which did not stop me from cooking today.  I guess that makes it a happy hangover.

I wanted a hearty pasta sauce to serve over spaghetti, and while I was missing some crucial ingredients for a traditional meat sauce or a bolognese, my freezer came through.  Like most home cooks, I always have jarred pasta sauce in the pantry.  My freezer may have a few things others don't - sliced beef liver, tasso ham, squid and calamari - but I also had the obligatory frozen vegetables plus a half package of Italian sausage links.

Spending the day at home, nursing a headache while working ever-so-slowly on my recipe collection, did not stop me from throwing together a rich and delicious spaghetti sauce.  

The recipe collection project is going better than expected.  It has already taken me about 2 months to sort through and organize the papers, and then there was a lot of photocopying to replace clippings from a 1984 Bon Appetit and the backs of pasta boxes.  I am at the point now of putting the recipes into clear plastic sheet protectors and from there into 3 ring binders.  That blue notebook contains all of my recipes for appetizers, plus a section for sauces, dressings, marinades and the like.  Today I've been working on salads, vegetables, and soups, and hope to have them tucked into a green notebook before too long.

Tonight's dinner involves a crockpot, which you may have guessed from my description of a sitting-on-the-couch sort of day.  The 4 quart is a perfect size.  It is literally the only pot you are going to need.

Sausage and Peppers Linguine Dinner

Olive Oil
3 Italian sausages, frozen (hot or sweet)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 - 24 oz. jar marinara pasta sauce (I used Classico Marinara with Plum Tomatoes and Olive Oil) 
1/2 cup each red wine and water (put into the sauce jar, cover and shake to get any sauce on the sides of the jar)
Italian seasoning blend
kosher salt
black pepper
granulated garlic
pinch or more of sugar
1 - 14 oz. bag frozen pepper and onion blend
about 6 oz. of linguine pasta, broken in half
another 1/2 cup of water

In the crockpot, place the frozen sausages and garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.  Season with the Italian seasoning blend to taste. Cover and cook on the High setting for 30 to 45 minutes.  Turn the sausage and cook for another 30 minutes.  Add the marinara, 1/2 cup water and the wine, cover, and let cook for another hour.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, using the salt, pepper, and granulated garlic along with the Italian blend. 

Remove the sausage and set aside on a cutting board to cool slightly.  Add the frozen peppers and onions, cover.  While the sauce is reheating, chop up the sausage in very small pieces.  Add the sausage back to the sauce and let cook for another two hours.  Now add the linguine and the last 1/2 cup of water.  Stir to separate the linguine and submerge all pasta in the liquid.  Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

Serve immediately.

Did you enjoy this recipe?  Make any changes to improve it?  Let me know by posting something in the Comments section.  Thanks!

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