My P.S. (Part-time Sous chef/hubby) and I were sharing a cold that was gifted to us by a grandson. My P.S. was on vacation and had planned to be out tramping through the fields looking for deer, so he was a bit… grumpy. I came home from work feeling drained and wanted to curl up and ignore the world. When he asked me what I wanted for supper I said a salad. He wrinkled his glowing red nose and said “not cold salad!”
A salad seemed easy and we had a fridge full of fun ingredients that would have made a very good salad. He had a package of Hillshire Farms sausage in his hands and said “how about sausage?” Ugh, not comfort food for me. I suggested he turn it into a pasta dish where he could slice the sausage on top of a creamy noodle creation. He agreed it was a good compromise.
Digging in the fridge he noted that the colored sweet bell peppers needed to be used before they started to wrinkle. He pulled out a yellow one and I suggested he use two, to make it a pepper event. Another compromise was made. He diced up an onion and cut the two peppers into strips and tossed them into a large nonstick skillet with a little oil. He let them sauté for 4 or 5 minutes.
Next he added the sliced sausage and let them heat through before setting them aside in a dish.
Using the skillet again, he asked what went into an Alfredo sauce. I replied 4 tablespoons for butter, 4 tablespoons of flour, then milk or cream and grated parmesan. He melted the butter, then stirred in the flour and let it cook for a few minutes to remove the flour taste.
When the flour was cooked and beginning to brown, he poured in a cup of milk and a cup of half and half in increments, stirring between each addition until the sauce was creamy, I suggested ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and a large pinch of cayenne. Finally he added a cup of grated Parmesan and stirred until melted and smooth.
In the meantime he had heated a pot of water, salted it, and cooked 8 ounces of pasta until al dente. I drained it for him, reserving several cups of pasta water to use later if necessary.
His sauce was creamy and thickened, so we put the pasta into the skillet and tossed until it was well coated. I added a cup of pasta water when the pasta had absorbed most of the sauce’s liquid.
He poured the onion, sausage and peppers mixture into the skillet, and again tossed well. I taste tested and added a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Dinner ready! I took the obligatory pictures of the finished serving and we carried our pasta bowls into the living room to watch tv. We’re all growed up, we can do that.
I was pleasantly surprised with the flavors. The sweet bell pepper flavor was prominent and that pleased me, I adore them. The sausages were chicken jalapeno pineapple, a very strange combo, but spiced the pasta dish up nicely. We both commented that we were glad we still had our taste, between blowing our noses with the tissue box tucked between us and chomping down the pasta. A very successful collaborative effort, but I’ll give the credit to my P.S. I simply watched, advised, drained pasta and took photos.
Common Cold Pasta Bowl
8 ounces pasta; cooked according to box directions to al dente, then drained reserving 2 cups of pasta water
1 medium onion; diced
2 sweet bell peppers; diced (red, yellow, orange or any combination)
Drizzle of oil
4 sausages (we used Johnsonville 3 Cheese Italian Style Chicken Sausage)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Large pinch cayenne
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 cup Parmesan cheese; grated
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook pasta until al dente in lightly salted water; drain, reserving pasta water.
In a large skillet sauté the onions and peppers in a drizzle of oil for 4-5 minutes. Add sliced sausage and cooking until they are heated through. Set aside in a bowl.
In the large skillet, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for 4-5 minutes to remove the flour flavor.
Add milk and half and half in increments, stirring each addition until smooth. Add garlic powder and cayenne and stir well.
Add Parmesan and stir until smooth and melted.
Add pasta and toss until it is evenly coated. Simmer for a few minutes and add pasta water if the pasta becomes a bit dry from absorbing liquids.
Add onion, peppers and sausages mixture and stir well. Simmer until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot topped with extra shredded Parmesan for garnish.