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Sweet Italian Sausage With Onions & Peppers

Italian Sausage Italian Sausage IMG_3368

Italian Sausage

Onions and PeppersOnions and Peppers

Italian Sausage with Peppers an Onions
It seems that I’m always cooking for a crowd, and I need to constantly be creative. There’s always an occasion to celebrate with food, and this past Saturday, the party was at our house. It was a gathering to watch the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight. My son invited about 10 friends but 15 showed up. You know how the news get around. I also had other guests for a total of 25 people. I decided to make Sweet Italian Sausage with Onions & Peppers. I tried a new method of cooking the sausages, and the result was stupendous. I always get them at one place only,  Doris Italian Market. I love them with fennel seeds, but that’s my preference. You can get them without the fennel, it’s up to your taste buds.

This method works like a charm, and the sausages will come out golden brown, if you follow my step by step instructions.

Serves: 10 – 15 with other food  – Level of Difficulty: Medium, because it is time-consuming. Allow 1 – 1.5 hour from start to finish, depending how fast you work. This recipe like most of my recipes can easily be divided into smaller portions.


  • 5 lb. sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds, (or without)
  • Generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, follow the recipe
  • 4 green bell peppers, cut in julienne (long thin strips)
  • 2  large sweet onions, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Water
  • Hoagies or sub rolls,  optional


You will need two pots to prepare this amount of sausage, and one pot for the onions and peppers. I like to use a deep one so the oil doesn’t splatter all over the stove. I did one pot at time, otherwise, it would be too much juggling back and forth. You certainly can cook them simultaneously, but that’s up to you.

1) In a large pot, place the sausage in a single layer and cover with enough water to be close to the same level as the sausages. (as seen on the picture) On medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes . Drain some of the left over water on the bottom, but if there is only a little water left, don’t worry, no need to drain, it will evaporate. In that case, leave the pot on the stove at the same temperature, medium-high, with the sausages. Pour a generous amount of olive oil, at least 1/2 cup. Pan fry for 5 minutes. You will be hearing that sizzling sound. Flip the sausages, and pan fry the other sides for another 5 minutes. They will obtain a beautiful golden brown color like you see in my pictures. Do the second batch in a different pot so the bottom is nice and clean. Place the sausages on a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes to retain its juices before cutting them. Set aside.

2) Cut peppers in julienne, and slice the onions.

3) In a new pot, on medium-high heat, heat a generous amount of olive oil, about 3/4 cup or so, drop the onions and peppers, COVER and sweat for about 10 minutes. This method will speed up the cooking process. Stir occasionally. The veggies will start to wilt nicely. REMOVE THE COVER, keeping the flame on med-high heat. At this point, the frying process will begin, and you will hear that beautiful sizzling sound again.  Add salt & pepper to taste, pan fry for 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Now that everything is cooked, combine the sausage with the onions and peppers in the pot. Mix well. Dinner is ready to be served. You can eat them with a fork, or as a sub on a hoagie roll. The choice is yours.  Use a condiment of your choice.

Needless to say, there were no leftovers, and my guests were very happy with the deliciousness of the sausages.

Tip #1)  Notice, there is no slow cooking in this recipe, you will be cooking on medium-high temperature all the time. That is the only way to get a nice caramelization on the sausages and the veggies.

Tip #2) Always pay attention, and  use your judgement . My recipes are to be used as a guideline.

Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen to Yours,







Rigatoni with Italian Sausage & Red Bell Peppers

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Browning the sausage



Red bell peppers cut in Julienne




Assembling all the ingredients


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Voila, It’s done!


If you know me well enough, you should know by now, I usually cook for a minimum of 4, (but living with three men) It’s like cooking for 6. Wait, that’s not all, on Thursday nights, my brother and parents come over for dinner, and I generally make a pasta dish which is always a good idea when feeding a crowd. It’s easy, filling and delicious. Today, I will share with you, My Rigatoni with Sweet Italian Sausage and Red Bell Peppers. I was inspired many years ago, when I had a similar dish at the Italian chain restaurant Carrabba’s. I recreated it and the result was delightful.

Serves: 8 – 10 Degree of difficulty: Medium.  This recipe can easily be divided in half.


  • 1.5 lb. Rigatoni or Ziti
  • 1 container of chopped Tomato, Pomi or any brand 26.46 oz
  •  2 containers of strained tomato, Pomi or any brand 26.46 oz
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for sauce, oil for frying the sausage, and more to drizzle
  • 3 lbs. sweet Italian Sausage with fennel
  • 1.5 red bell peppers cut in Julienne
  •  Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 16 oz shredded Mozzarella *
  • 3/4 – 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


1) In a large pot, heat up some olive oil and brown sausage in batches, until they obtain a nice golden brown color. Do not attempt to taste them as the inside will still be raw. Cut each link into three or four pieces, and set aside.

2) In the meantime, over med-high heat, in the same pot, heat up olive oil, saute’ the onions until translucent, then add garlic, saute’ an extra minute.  Add tomato paste, cook until it caremelizes into a nice brownish red color, stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the heat is too high, adjust the setting. Next, add the water, the tomatoes, oregano, bell peppers, salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the flame to low, and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes. DO NOT OVER-COOK, as the peppers will fall apart.

3) On another burner, bring the pasta water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta to the halfway point, as it will continue to cook in the oven.

4) Now, that you have prepped everything, it’s time to put it all together. In a very large, deep baking pan, drop the pasta, add the sausage, a few ladles of sauce with the peppers, the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Mix well until all the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce. There may be some sauce left, save it, you may need it later. Bake covered with foil, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked. If you choose to, you can broil it uncovered for the last 5 minutes to get a nice crust. Serve it in a nice pasta bowl, and garnish with parsley! Voila!

* I like to use fresh mozzarella, and break it with my hands, but you can use whatever works for you.  I also like to freshly grate the parmesan cheese.

Next time, you’re having a small gathering, I hope you will try this delicious meal. If you are pressed for time, you can prepare the sauce the day before, but be sure to warm it up on low flame before mixing it with the pasta. You may have to add some water to liquefy the sauce as it will thicken in the refrigerator.

I love the way the flavors work harmoniously in this scrumptious pasta dish. I suggest you pair it with any of these Italian reds, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Rosso di Montalcino, Sangiovese, or a Super Tuscan.

Buon Appetito! Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen to yours!

Rigatoni with sausage and peppers


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