Ok, so you come home from a particularly stressful day at work – and the question is – pizza? Cook? Chinese?
Really dont feel like cooking a home made meal – ok, so what is easy? How about whole wheat spaggetti with an Italian Sausage, Green Pepper and Onion sauce?
Yeah, right…. forget it. Where was that Chinese menu???
Seriously, this is as easy as it gets…I made it tonight, and BELIEVE me, I did NOT feel like cooking. Ok, a glass of whine or two (sic) helped, but my wife and I like to eat well, so here is what I made:
Start with a shallot – diced, and 3 HUGE cloves of garlic – about the size of your thumb…diced very fine. ( I keep at least 3 or 4 shallots, and 2 or 3 entire heads of garlic handy at all times – if you don’t like garlic, go home, because it is REALLY prevalent here!)
Add about 2 TBS of regular olive oil, NOT extra virgin, (regular has a much lower smoking point than extra virgin) to a large frying pan, and saute on med high untill garlic starts to turn dark brown, stiring constantly. (Lets talk about pans soon….)
I had 3 Italian sausage links in the freezer – about 1/2 package – Thaw, and slice open, and remove skin. Dice up with knife, and add to garlic, shallots in pan, stir constantly.
Rough dice a small onion, add to sausage mixture. Saute, and chop up with spatula as it cooks until sausage is cooked through and diced fine- about 15 minutes.
Add about 1 cup diced 3 color frozen peppers ( You REALLY need to keep a bag of these frozen gems in your freezer at all times for additions to almost everything – definately one of the most essential freezer items out there!!)
Saute for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add a jar of your favorite tomatoe sauce – it really doesn’t matter what you use ( I am SO sorry to all the home cooked tomatoe sauce enthusiasts out there – this is supposed to be easy, NOT authentic….) add about a 1/2 tsp of oregano and basil , a pinch of red pepper flakes, several twists of sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to the mix ( I also add a heavy pinch of frozen fresh basil at this point – something I keep in the freezer from my summer garden) Simmer and stir fairly constantly for about 15 minutes or more – the longer it simmers, the better it tastes!
While the sauce is simmering, bring aboutr 2 qts of water, a 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp of basil to a rolling boil. Add about a 1 inch round of whole wheat spaggetti, broken in half (about 1/3 of a box). Occasionally stir for about 15 minutes. Taste, and when Al Dente ( a little crunchy) drain, rinse under cold water, add 2 tbs olive oil, a shake of garlic powder, stir and plate. Top with sauce, fresh ground Romano cheese, and serve. I would serve with a nice red wine, perhaps a Chianti, although Lynne and I had a square Pinot Grigiot with it ( box wine – ok, shoot me now, but really its ok to drink box wine….. SOME box wine should say …more on that later)
I know it sounds like alot of steps, but it really only took me about 10 minutes of prep, and about 20 minutes to cook – and tasted like a home made meal, versus just dumping a jar of sauce over some pasta. Sometimes a littel effort goes a long way . I figure if I can make it in 20 minutes or less, it qualifies as take out. Now keep in mind, I LOVE to cook, and most days cooking settles me down from a rough day. The wine doesnt hurt either, I have to admit. I will get into some good drinking wines in the future…
This is one of those meals that is easy to make, and really taste good. Its also a great way to talk with your partner as you make it, and decompress from your day! A little blues music, some great conversation, a little chopping and dicing, and who the hell needs take out anyway?