20-Minute Sausage Pasta Skillet

1 package Italian sausage, 5 or 6 sausages total
1 lb penne pasta
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
4 large ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons crushed tomato
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon crushed chili pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
1 scallion, sliced, for garnish
Fresh chopped basil, for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides. You can add 1/4 cup of water so they don’t blacken and stick to the pan. When the sausages are almost cooked, transfer to a cutting board.

In the same skillet (remove water but keep the brown bits), add 1 tablespoon oil and sauté onions with crushed fennel seeds, crushed chili pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Add the garlic, ground tomato and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Then add bell pepper and diced tomatoes and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in broth and cook for another minute or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice sausage into 1/4 or 1/2-inch pieces and add back to the skillet with other ingredients. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until sausage is cooked through and sauce is thickened.

Add pasta to the skillet and reheat for a couple of minutes, stirring gently to coat the pasta with the sauce. Garnish the sausage pasta skillet with basil, chopped scallion, and parmesan cheese.

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