Spicy Penne and Sausage

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This is currently one of my favorite recipes. It's got everything I love: Spicy, pasta, cheese, and mushrooms. It's relatively easy to make, and the ingredients are not too expensive. It makes a lot of food, especially when you add extra bell peppers.

Make sure to slice the vegetables before starting anything. It doesn't take long, and it ensures that you aren't rushed when you're cooking. I didn't, and if you look carefully in the pictures, you can see how they're out-of-order ;).

Ingredients

  • 16 oz penne pasta
  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers (any color), chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 c half and half
  • 1 c parmesan cheese

Instructions

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While the water is boiling, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until brown. Set aside.

In same skillet, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste. Saute until mushrooms and peppers are tender (about 5-7 minutes).

Add half and half. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute. Add pasta, sausage, and parmesan cheese. Toss to coat. Sauce will thicken in the starch of the pasta.

Images

Slicing the Ingredients

The original recipe called only for red bell peppers, but I like adding green peppers to make it colorful.

The unsliced mushrooms are significantly cheaper, and slicing mushrooms takes almost no time. It is also a lot easier to clean whole mushrooms. Don't forget to clean mushrooms!

I used to think fresh garlic was too much work and that garlic powder was just as good. I was wrong. I admit it. Fresh garlic is a nice, mild flavor that doesn't overpower, and mincing takes only a few minutes.

The grocery store where I shop rarely has bulk Italian sausage, so I usually end up cutting about 4-5 sausages into 1/2" thick slices. I like the shape, and the result, better than crumbled sausage.

The vegetables cook down nicely in the oil, garlic, and spices.

After warming the half-and-half, the sauce comes together with the starch of the pasta.

There is a lot of food here, and I really need to buy a deeper skillet...

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