As the days get darker the pull of comfort food gets stronger. For me, more often than not, that means making pasta for dinner after trekking home from work. This pasta dish, which gets its flavor from onions, garlic, and bell peppers (one of the only vegetables that still manage to look bright, fresh, and appealing as the year swings away from summer), is a good bridge to some of the heavier meals I’m sure will come, along with the snow, in a few weeks. It’s flavorful and filling, and using a dry white wine like a chardonnay as the base of the sauce (instead of heavy cream) keeps it from going overboard.
It’s become a dish I cook often on those days when time is tight and we haven’t planned anything else for dinner. The ingredients are easy to find, and we often have a lot of them on hand in the fridge or pantry. But I think it’s also one I’ll keep in mind as the seasons change and I have access to a wider variety of fresh ingredients to swap in place (or in addition to) the peppers.
The quality of your chicken sausage makes a difference here. I’ve found that my favorite one is a smoked apple and chardonnay sausage from Trader Joe’s. It’s also a good idea to buy fully cooked sausage links to cut down on the cooking time, but uncooked sausage will work, too. If you use uncooked sausage, be sure to cook it through before removing from heat and adding the vegetables.
Colorful Chicken Sausage Pasta
12 ounces chicken sausage
1 pound dried pasta (such as penne or farfalle), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick wedges
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
~ 1 cup reserved cooking water from the pasta
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until done, usually about 10 minutes. Remember to save some of the cooking water.
2. In a separate 12-inch skillet brown the chicken sausage rounds over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, remove the sausages and set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the red onion and peppers. Cook until the peppers and onion are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sausage back in to the skillet and cook until heated through. Add the white wine, Parmesan cheese, and reserved cooking water (start with 1/2 cup of the water, adding more as needed if the pasta is dry).