American

Smoky Red Pepper Pasta With Vegetarian Sausage

January  7, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club
Author Notes

This winter weeknight dinner is bursting with flavor thanks to smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, and plenty of garlic. Plus, the creaminess of the sauce comes (mostly) from the roasted peppers, so although it tastes decadent, it’s a little lighter than it looks.

The recipe as-written is vegetarian, but don’t hesitate to tailor it to your preferences: for the omnivore, sub in your favorite spicy Italian sausages for the Beyond Meat; for the vegan, drizzle in an unflavored dairy alternative instead of the cream (oat milk works great).

As for the pasta, I love the way the smaller calamarata rings catch this meaty sauce, but any tubular shape is your friend here. (For my tips on cooking better pasta, check out this article.) —Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club

Test Kitchen Notes

Pasta Social Club is a column by Meryl Feinstein, Food52's Resident Pasta Maker, community builder, and pastaia extraordinaire. Meryl will teach us about everything from semolina to spaghetti to sauce—and will show us how pasta is a great way to make great friends and have lots of fun. —The Editors

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 450 grams tubular pasta like calamarata, paccheri, or rigatoni
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
  • 40 milliliters (3 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 300 grams (about 3 links) Beyond Meat Hot Italian sausages, broken into pieces (see Author Notes)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) tomato paste
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 1 gram (1/2 teaspoon) smoked paprika
  • 1 gram (1/2 teaspoon) Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 75 milliliters (1/3 cup) heavy cream (see Author Notes)
  • 1 handful finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for finishing (optional)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Prepare the peppers

    Set the oven broiler to high. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and stems, then place the halves cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.

    Broil the peppers for 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet mid-way through, until the skins are completely blackened. (Alternatively, if you have a gas stovetop, carefully char the whole peppers directly over the flame, using tongs to rotate them until blackened.)

    Transfer the charred peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Let them steam for 10 minutes.

    When the peppers are still warm but cool enough to handle, remove the skins—they should peel off easily.

    Transfer the peppers and the stock to a blender and purée until very smooth. Set aside.
  2. Make the sauce & start the pasta

    Start bringing a large pot of water to a boil.

    In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Add the sausage pieces and use a spatula or wooden spoon to break them up even more in the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

    Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Follow with the finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally and scraping up any remaining sausage pieces from the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    Stir in the garlic and cook briefly until fragrant, no more than a minute. Then add the tomato paste and cook an additional minute until it darkens in color, stirring frequently. If the garlic starts to brown, turn down the heat and add a splash of water or wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan.

    Return the sausage to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Stir to combine, and simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the red pepper purée, along with the spices and a pinch of salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    While the sauce simmers, add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water and follow with the pasta. Stir for a few seconds to prevent sticking. Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente—usually a couple of minutes before the package directions—and taste a piece every so often to check for doneness.
  3. Finish the dish

    Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the cream and season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat.

    Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta directly to the sauce, along with a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water. Turn the heat back on to medium-low and toss to coat. Cook the pasta in the sauce for another minute or two to meld the flavors. Add more pasta water to loosen the sauce as needed.

    Serve immediately, topped with finely grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Courtney C
    Courtney C
  • Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club
    Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club
  • lmaz
    lmaz
Meryl Feinstein is a chef and pastaia who left the corporate world for the food industry in 2018. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, Meryl got her start at the renowned New York establishments Lilia and Misi, where she was part of the pasta production team. During that time, Meryl founded Pasta Social Club, a platform that brings people together over a shared love of food, learning, and making connections both on- and offline. She now lives in Austin, where she hosts virtual pasta-making workshops and develops recipes. Her dishes draw on her travels in Italy, ongoing research into the rich history of traditional pasta-making, and her Jewish heritage.