Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Italian Sausage and Red Wine Marinara Pasta

I know, I know. I'm posting yet another pasta recipe. Considering how much I love pasta, this probably isn't too surprising ... But I still usually try to space out my pasta posts a bit.

The problem this time around was that I really haven't been trying a lot of new recipes. I was out of town a couple of weeks ago (so obviously not cooking then), and we've also had a few meals with Eric's parents and our friends in the last few weeks. On top of that, lately I've just been trying to stick with quick and easy meals (a.k.a. things I've made before) because I haven't felt like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

So basically I didn't have much to choose from this week. I really need to step up my game in the kitchen not only so I actually have some new material for my Tasty Tuesday posts, but also because I like challenging myself. And there's really no challenge if it's something I've made a million times.

 photo SausageandRedWineMarinaraPasta1_zpsntr4typz.jpg

Now I know that you may be thinking, "What's so challenging about pasta with marinara sauce? You just pour a jar of sauce over pasta, right?" Well, of course you can do that. I do that a lot when I'm too busy or lazy to bother with anything else. But the sauce in today's recipe is a little bit more legit.

I'm more likely to make my own cream sauce than I am to make my own red sauce (even a semi-homemade version like the one I'm posting today). I've made my own marinara sauce a few times, but most of the time I'll just use something from a jar and add a few extra things in (maybe some garlic or spinach or spices). This meal, however, made me want to start making my own red sauce on a more regular basis ... This is definitely the best, most flavorful marinara I've ever made!

Italian Sausage and Red Wine Marinara Pasta

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Oh, Sweet Basil.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 box short pasta (I used Garofalo organic gemelli from Costco)
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into slices and then halved
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into slices and then halved
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into slices and then halved
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Gnarly Head pinot noir, and would suggest using either pinot noir or merlot for this type of sauce.)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar (I actually just used Splenda, and it tasted great. I know some people don't like using artificial sweeteners, though, so use whatever you prefer.)
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)


1.   Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2.  Remove the Italian sausage from the casings. Crumble the sausage into the heated skillet, and cook until browned.

3.  After the sausage is completely cooked through, remove it to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain the majority of the oil from the skillet, leaving approximately 1 tsp.

4.  Add the white onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper to the skillet with the remaining oil. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the vegetables are slightly softened.

5.  Add the cooked sausage back into the skillet, and deglaze the pan with the red wine.

6.  Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, garlic salt, black pepper, sugar, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix the sauce a few times to thoroughly combine.

7.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and allow the sauce to simmer for 1 hour.

8.  About 20 minutes prior to the end of the sauce cook time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

9.  Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente and drain.

10.  Add the drained pasta to the sauce in the skillet, mixing thoroughly to ensure the pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

The sauce does take a bit of time, but I promise it's completely worth it. It's also a very passive process once you've reached the 1 hour simmer time, so it's not as time consuming as it may appear. I made this on a weeknight, so I obviously thought it was simple enough to handle after a long day at work.

I served this meal with a simple green salad. I'm not a huge red wine fan (though I love it in a sauce!), so I had a glass of white wine with this. I'm sure a red would enhance the flavors a bit more, but it's just a little too dry and bitter for my tastes.

1 comment:

  1. i have never made my own pasta sauce before, i really need to. i'm not a fan of wine in cooking though (i know, i know) do i have to use it? :)