CLASSIC pasta pappardelle with peppers and sausage








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This recipe first appeared in Marcella Hazan's "More Classic Italian Cooking" (now out of print) and is now in the sequel to her two "Classics": the compendium "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" -- a must in any library. It is a recipe which she got from one of her favorite restaurants -- Al Catunzein, in Bologna. On her recommendation, I also got to Al Cantunzein on a couple of occasions, and certainly agreed it was one of the best. Unfortunately, I report "was" for, as Marcella reports in "Essentials", Al Cantunzein was destroyed during student violence in the late 1970's.

We love peppers and pasta when the peppers appear in the market. A classic way to handle the peppers is to roast them over a flame, on the stovetop for example, until both sides are charred. One puts the blackened peppers in a sealed bag, allows them to cool, then removes them and peals the skins off fairly easily.

This recipe, the one we use most often, uses the peppers without the roasting.

 for the sauce:

  • four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • two cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • three bell peppers - red, yellow and orange preferred
  • two tablespoons chopped onion
  • twelve ounces (about) sweet Italian sausage
  • one cup imported Italian canned, peeled tomatoes, drained and then roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

for the pasta:

Remove the casings from the sausages and then roughly chop them.

Slice each pepper into long, vertical quarters. remove the cores and seeds and any tough white stuff, and peel them. (a swiveling-blade peeler works best). The cut them into approximate half-inch squares.

Put the olive oil into a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic; thirty seconds later add the onion. Cook until the onion turns translucent. Add the sausage and cook them about two minutes, constantly working them with a wooden spoon to break them up as much as possible.

Add the peppers and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add a half teaspoon of salt and the freshly ground pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook at a good solid simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Get five quarts of water up to a boil.  Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Reserve a half cup of the pasta liquid. Then drain.

Re-heat the sauce; add the pappardelle to the sauce. If dry, add some of the reserved pasta liquid. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir again. Put the cover on the sauté pan, turn up the heat, and steam it for one minute. This will make sure the pappardelle will be very hot for serving. And -- serve immediately on warmed plates.


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