Spicy-Sweet Tomato and Sausage Pasta

2016-01-05 18.15.15RECIPE #160, DAY #192

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Pepperonata with Penne and Sausage”, from Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross*

TIMING: 20 minutes, if you can get water to a boil real fast


TOOLS: Regular kitchen things, like a large skillet and a soup pot. A spider is always handy

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: I always give the warning that you want to limit your pasta intake, perhaps to once per week and in a limited portion. Besides that, though, this can be a healthy dinner with it’s veggie-heavy sauce and a premium andouille. Also, with some antipasto or a green salad, it makes a terrific week-night dinner.

EXPERIENCE: We had had a very big day, the afternoon of which consisted of signing papers for a house and picking up our daughter across town. I was feeling a little off and I still had to finish home-schooling and then help my daughter with a school project, all before getting everyone into bed at a decent time. At these moments is when I very often lift Desperation Dinners from its spot on the cookbook shelf.

The only meats I had on hand were andouille sausage and bacon, so I looked up “sausage” in the index and found a recipe that called for a couple bell peppers, which I did not have. But the idea of the pasta (any pasta) seemed workable, so I sort of used the recipe and sort of made up this dinner.

It was too spicy for some of us, but I loved it’s spicy-sweet-sour-salty combination.

NOTES: Red, orange, or yellow bell pepper could be substituted for the pimento. Just slice up 1-2 and add with the carrots. Carrots could also be omitted.

This recipe was written for pre-cooked andouille sausage. If your sausage is raw, you are going to have to cook longer with a lid on to ensure that the meat is cooked through, and you probably want to keep the sausage whole until serving.


  1. In a large soup pot, cook 12 ounces tubular pasta (like ziti or penne) according to package directions in salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced onion and 4 sliced carrots (sliced on the bias). Cook 1 minute then reduce heat to medium. Cook until onion is browning.
  3. Add 1 pound sliced (on the bias) andouille sausage, increase heat again, and stir until crisp and brown around the edges.
  4. Add 30 oz diced tomatoes, 1 drained jar sliced pimentos, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated (or brown) sugar, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake, 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or a couple tablespoons fresh chiffonade), 1 teaspoon salt and a hefty pinch of ground black pepper. Stir, then reduce heat and simmer until pasta is ready.
  5. When pasta is al dente, use a spider to drain and add to the sauce. Toss, taste for seasonings (including vinegar), remove the bay leaf, and serve right away.


Serve with antipasto or a green salad and a glass of wine. Shaved Parmesan or even a few slices of fresh mozzarella would be nice. Garnish with fresh basil.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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