Bake One Take One Sausage & Peppers Pasta

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A few weeks ago a family that we dearly love went through a very difficult time.

I grew up watching my momma make food for people when they were going through a difficult time.

We’ve all been there. The last thing we want to do when we’re going through a tough time is cook supper. But the family’s still gotta eat, so we press on and throw something together or pick up a pizza. Throwing something together adds to the stress and picking up a pizza may stress out the wallet, especially if the difficult time is an expensive time.

So my momma cooked for people who were going through a difficult time. I’ve mentioned this before, I know. While I’m not perfect at it, I like to think I do what I can – when I can – to help my friends in need.

I recently read an article, and I searched and searched to find it for you, but the bottom line of the article was this:

When a friend is going through a tough time, don’t just say, “Let me know what I can do.”
Instead, tell them what you will do, but let them decide the details that will work best for them.

In my case, I texted my friend and told her I was going to make her supper, but that she needed to tell me what day worked best for her.

If I had said, “Let me know what I can do for you,” she would have very sweetly said, “Okay, I will.” And that would have been the end of that conversation.

If I had shown up on her doorstep on Tuesday with a hot meal, I would have discovered too late that they weren’t going to be home on Tuesday. Instead, she replied, “How about Wednesday?” Done!

Normally my go-to give-away-meal is lasagna. I know I won’t screw that one up. But this particular week I had something else already on the menu that I could easily double and so the Bake One Take One Sausage & Peppers Pasta was born.

This dish is an excellent meal to share because otherwise you’d end up with half a box of pasta, half a carton of half-n-half, half a bag of mozzarella, all sitting waiting to be used in something else. Even if you don’t have anyone to share it with {although I bet you could think of someone} you could alternatively put the second half of it in a disposable foil pan and freeze it for a quick freezer meal later on during your own tough times.

One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram, Kate of @venisonfordinner, is the queen of cooking for other people. She always has something going for a friend or neighbor, even if it’s just because, and it’s very inspiring and motivating. Plus she’s dadgum funny and REAL to boot! {And if you’re heading to Instagram to give Kate a follow you can follow me too @mywildkitchen.}

Now let’s dish up some pasta! I’ve seen a lot of recipes shared lately for peppers and sausage, and I really wanted to give it a try. I’ve gotta say, peppers and sausage go really well together!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Smoked Sausage  |  Tube pasta  |  Basil  |  Bell peppers  |  Garlic  |  Parmesan cheese
Sun dried tomato pesto  |  Mozzarella cheese  |  Half-n-half  |  Butter

Make sure your Parmesan is shredded, not powdered.

The sausage can be venison or wild pork. We made our sausage with the Bolner’s Fiesta Venison Sausage Seasoning.


 

Step 1 ~ 5 minutes

I used a half a bag of the mini-bell peppers, about 10 peppers, but you could also use two large red or yellow bell peppers. Remove the stems and seeds and start slicing the peppers into thin strips, lengthwise.

Some of the peppers were pretty long so I cut the strips in half.

It looks like a lot of peppers but they cook down considerably, and remember this is for two dishes.

 

Step 2 ~ 5 minutes

Slice 3 pounds of smoked sausage into bite-size circles.

The sausage will cut much easier if it’s still partially frozen and if you use a serrated knife.

 

Step 3 ~ 15 – 20 minutes

Grab the biggest skillet you have! You’ll need lots of room for 3 pounds of sausage and all these bell peppers! Place the peppers and sausage in the skillet and let it cook away, stirring every five minutes or so.

 

Step 4 ~ 10 minutes

While the sausage is cooking bring a large pot of water to boil and cook a pound of tube pasta according to the package directions.

 

Step 5 ~ 10 minutes

Grab another large skillet {this is our chicken fry pan} and melt ¼ c butter. Stir in 3 – 4 cloves minced garlic or 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic.

This next ingredient will completely change the flavors of this dish. It’s not subtle. I added 2 Tbsp of sundried tomato pesto to the sauce.

In my experience people either love pesto or they don’t. If you’re making this for someone else and you don’t know their preferences you may choose to use a little less or leave it out completely. It is a very bold ingredient. Consider yourself warned. If you want to be a little less brave you could stir in 2 Tbsp of pizza sauce or seasoned tomato sauce. It’s your choice.

Pour in 2 c half-n-half

and add a handful of chopped basil {or 1 Tbsp dried basil}.

Stir and bring the sauce to a low simmer for about 5 minutes.

 

Step 6 ~ 5 minutes

Add 10 ounces {2 cartons or about 3 cups} of shredded Parmesan cheese,

stirring until the sauce is almost smooth. It’s okay if the sauce is a little stringy.

 

Step 7 ~ 2 minutes

By now the sausage should be cooked through,

and the pasta should be tender. Drain the pasta.

Odds are your skillet won’t be big enough to mix everything. Grab a large pot or bowl and combine the pasta with the sausage and peppers.

Pour in the sauce

and stir to coat.

 

Step 8 ~ 2 minutes

Divide the mixed pasta between two baking dishes.

I used a 9 x 13 baking dish for our family and a 2 quart casserole dish for our friends.


Cover the tops of the pasta dishes with shredded mozzarella cheese, about 2 c per dish.

At this point you may choose to refrigerate the dish, covered, for up to two days before baking.

 

Step 9 ~ 20 – 30 minutes

If you refrigerated your glass dish, set it on the counter while you pre-heat the oven to 350°. You don’t want to stick a cold glass dish into a hot oven, right? If you’ve frozen the pasta in a foil pan, put it in the fridge the night before you want to cook it to allow it to thaw.

When I deliver unbaked meals in foil pans to friends I write the baking instructions on the foil top with permanent marker. In this case I would have written:

Bake at 350° for 25 – 30 minutes until cheese is gooey and pasta is heated through.

In this case, my friend only lives 10 minutes down the road so I baked hers while we ate ours and dropped it off in a warm food carrier on our way to Badger’s softball game.

If the dish has not been refrigerated before baking, bake it for 20 – 25 minutes. If it was refrigerated, extend the time to 25 – 30 minutes.

When the cheese on top is ooey and gooey and the pasta and sausage are warmed through, remove the dish from the oven.

Allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Serve the pasta with garlic toast and a side salad for a full meal deal.

What’s your favorite meal that you’ve received? What’s your favorite meal to give away? Share the love in the comments below!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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