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Grilled Sausage and Pepper Penne
Makes 4 to 6 servings
CPK employees consistently rate this among their top-three personal favorites. Just like our Chicken Sausage and Pepper Sandwich, it captures the abondanza of Italian trattoria food. With the wide variety of fresh sausages available today, you can produce many different versions of this recipe. But we still prefer it with old-fashioned Italian-style sausages seasoned with sweet-tasting fennel seeds and spicy flecks of crushed red chili pepper.
About 3 cups Marinara Sauce
8 fresh sweet-and-spicy italian sausage links, about 6 ounces each
1 pound dry penne
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 medium white onion, thinly sliced
3/4 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat a stovetop grill or the broiler. Grill or broil the sausages until cooked through and nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes, then place in a covered container and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour. With a sharp knife, cut each link at a 45-degree angle into 1/4-inch-thick elliptical slices. Set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.
3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables become limp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage slices and cook, stirring, about 1 minutemore. Stir in the Marinara Sauce, salt, and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer. When it begins to simmer, sprinkle and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
4. Drain the pasta thoroughly and immediately toss it with the sauce in a large mixing or serving bowl. Serve family-style or transfer to individual serving bowls, evenly distributing the sausage and vegetables.
Roasted Garlic Paste
Makes about 1/2 cup
Roasted gently in the oven, garlic caramelizes, developing a rich, sweet flavor a world apart from its more familiar, pungent personality. This paste, which flavors several of our most popular pasta dishes, is easy to make. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, stored in an airtight container with its surface smoothed flat and completely covered with a film of olive oil.
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh garlic
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss the garlic pieces with the olive oil to coat evenly. Spread the garlic pieces evenly on the bottom of a small baking pan and roast until their edges begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan, and with a spoon or spatula, scrape up and turn the garlic; then return the pan to the oven and roast until the garlic is uniformly golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Set aside to cool completely.
3. Put the roasted garlic pieces and 2 tablespoons of the water in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process, scraping the bowl down occasionally, until the garlic is pureed to a paste with the consistency of smooth peanut butter. If necessary, add the remaining water. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.