Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni

Tonight's meal was such a success that I decided to do something that I haven't done and have been needing to do in/for a long time! Post a recipe the night I made it! (heck, post a recipe at all!)

So have you ever seen the commercials for the Bertolli bagged meals? Basically they make you think that Bertolli has captured the perfect way to make an Italian meal and that even attempting to make it from scratch would be hopeless... Way to go Bertolli! (don't get me wrong, I actually have enjoyed a couple of the Bertolli meals on the go or when I didn't have enough food on hand to come up with some kind of dinner, but seriously, cooking pasta and making sauce and stirring it all together isn't exactly a science...) Well my husband and I saw this bagged pasta dinner that had sausage and rigatoni and all sorts of yummy goodness in it... and I won't lie, we bought it and thought it was VERY delicious... but when I had a chance to go to the grocery store, I decided to make myself a little challenge against the big B... I bought a red pepper, a jar of pasta sauce (I would have made it from scratch, but time has been of the essence lately and my homemade sauce takes me all day!), a pound of smoked sausage, and a box of rigatoni... I already had garlic, basil (growing outside!), and parmesan at home, so this was all I needed... I want to say it was under $5 total, and the bagged meals cost about $6...

Before I got started I prepped my pepper (deseeding it and slicing it in half) and lined a cookie sheet with foil. Then I turned my broiler on high and plopped the pepper on the cookie sheet and into the oven for about 20 minutes. (in hindsight, my oven rack was kind of low... if it had been higher it would have taken less time).

Once the peppers are super black, toss them into a plastic baggie and let sit for a while so that the steam will loosen the skin off of the pepper. This whole process can be done in advanced... look here for some other amazing roasted red pepper ideas from the fabulous Emily at Joyful Abode! She also gives an amazing step by step instruction on how to roast red peppers... and also how to seed them! She pretty much rocks!

Ok so start a pot of salted water boiling... Once at a rolling boil, add the rigatoni and set your timer to 11 minutes. Meanwhile, heat some EVOO over medium high heat in a large skillet... Chop up your sausage into 1/2 inch thick (or smaller) slices, then toss into the skillet... Once the sausage is close to being browned, add some minced garlic and give it all a good stir... Continue to brown.

Slice the roasted red pepper into thin slices, then toss into the pan with the sausage. Add the jar of sauce and stir...

Drain the rigatoni and add to the sauce and sausage mixture... Stir well and let bubble for a minute.

I topped ours with fresh grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves from our garden, and served with Pillsbury Savorings (the spinach and cream cheese kind are our favorite!). We would have had a fresh salad too, but we were anxious to dig in and didn't want to waste time making a salad! :)

This is a serious two thumbs up!!!!

Some ways to tailor it to your family:

Leave out the red pepper
Add olives
Add sun dried tomatoes
Add mushroom
Add crumbled hot italian sausage
Use spicy sausage instead of smoked
Add ground beef in the sauce/use meat sauce

I am sure there are tons more variations, but this was fabulous just the way we had it! Oh and Landon approved: see for yourself!!!

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