Monday, November 3, 2008
Penne with Sausage and Peppers
On the day we delivered our youngest to her college dorm I dried my tears and made a promise to myself - I swore I'd never again sit in a moving vehicle with anyone who was under voting age. No more bickering or piercing music. No stray socks or eau de young athlete. Just Bach, van Morrison and me. I was, of course, infirm of purpose and as the grandbabies arrived I reneged. Well, I'm going to try the promise thing again. When the polls close tomorrow, I plan to swear off the telephone. You know how your right hip protrudes more than the left from hefting babies on that side? Well, my neck is beginning to skew right. For better or worse, I'm a political junkie and I've been on the phone - for 10 months now - trying to persuade folks to support my candidate. I am philosophically bound to the professor and while I admire the courage of the warrior I could not vote for him. I shared that and my reasons with all the folks I talked to. The best part of these past ten months has been the people, particularly the young people, I've met. I'm a product of the movements of the sixties; heady, special times when people felt empowered and believed they could change the world. And we did - a little - but the promise of that time was never fully realized and many of us were left with the feeling that our generation had the last of the wine. We were wrong. Something is happening; the air is charged and you can feel the static as the torch is finally passed to those who, hopefully, will finish the work that was left undone and take up that which has yet to be addressed. That whispered Yes We Can has become a roar, so, I'll be on the phone for two more days and because those with whom I share the phone bank have to eat I won't come empty handed. This casserole x 4 will feed the multitudes and make them smile. It's easy, cheap and delicious. Give it a try!
Penne with Sausage and Peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 large red bell pepper cut in 1/2 x 2-inch strips
1 large yellow bell pepper cut in 1/2 x 2-inch strips
1 large green bell pepper cut in 1/2 x 2-inch strips
3 cloves minced garlic
1 can (15-oz.) Italian stewed tomatoes, pureed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried fennel seed
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound penne
About 1 cup pasta water
Chopped parsley or basil
1) Heat olive oil in a very large skillet until it shimmers. Add sausage and brown. Remove sausage and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces. Return to skillet. Stir in onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add red, yellow and green peppers; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer or until fragrant. Add pureed stewed tomatoes , oregano, and fennel seeds. Bring to a simmer; cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
2) Bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Stir in 3 tablespoons salt and the penne. Cook until tender but firm, about 9 to 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
3) Add the pasta to the skillet containing the sausage and peppers. Toss to coat penne with sauce. If the pasta appears dry add pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to create a smooth, clinging sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.