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Italian Sausage and Pepper Penne

A colorful classic filled with vibrant flavors that makes a magical make-ahead meal.

I like the rustic simplicity of a sausage and pepper penne. It’s a dish with no real surprises, just quality Italian favorites combined into a delightfully fresh and tasty sauce. Aside from the penne, everything cooks beautifully in one pot, soaking up a rich mix of herbs, garlic, and chili for a warming but textured dish.

Colorful red peppers and some spiced Italian sausage is a tremendous starting point for a top quality, authentically cooked Italian meal. Combining the color and flavor with a rich tomato sauce, your favorite herbs, a few cups of perfectly cooked penne pasta, and a glass of vino, then things couldn’t get much better!

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There are layers to cooking the perfect sausage and pepper penne. The first important item is the sausage, and how you wish to incorporate it into the meal. Personally, I like a spiced sausage that has been released from the casing, chopped up into large chunks and browned amongst spices and oil. Releasing the sausage from its shackles creates an ultra authentic look and taste that’s hard to capture otherwise, evened out by the sweet yet strong flavor of bell peppers. Other cooks may prefer a bit more order, a more ground beef type sausage, and a gentler, less spicy flavor.

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Noodle choice is critically important when it comes to pasta dishes, impacting on flavor, texture, and taste. Penne is both hollow and has ridges, so there’s plenty of surface area for sauce flavor and herbs to find their way into the depths of the noodle. And while you could choose other kinds of noodles that can work, you really want to use penne because it’s been designed to maximise the enjoyment of a dish like this one.

Almost but not quite a one pot meal, sausage and pepper penne is a simple dish to craft quickly and without mess. The recipe is methodical and logical, each addition creates another layer of delicious flavor. With its colorful look and heady aroma, sausage pepper penne is the type of meal suitable for entertaining guests, yet simple and quick enough that you can make a batch big enough to be used for make ahead meals.

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Serves 4-6

10m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 8 reviewers
  • 3-4 cups penne pasta
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (spicy or sweet), cut into chunks
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced chili
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 14 oz can diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons Italian herb mix
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: Grated parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook penne al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside, leaving aside 1 cup of starchy water to use in the sauce.
  2. Pre-heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, onion, and chili to heat. Cook until onion becomes translucent. Add sausage and peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes until meat has browned.
  3. Add tomatoes and remaining dried herbs. Stir through, then reduce heat to low temperature and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Add penne and starchy water to the sauce, stirring through to combine. Simmer for 3-5 more minutes, or until pasta sauce emulsifies. Sprinkle with fresh basil, salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately, garnishing with grated parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Plays Well With Butter

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