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Zola's "Convalescent" Penne with Italian Sausage and Peppers*

Recipe: Zola's "Convalescent" Penne with Italian Sausage and Peppers*


    *Sarah was recovering from surgery and could not stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. She came up with several recipes that didn't require her to be on her feet. "This particular recipe," Sarah says, "is especially popular with men. They love it and go back for seconds every time."

    This penne recipe is great for when you're feeling lazy or in a hurry to cook dinner.

Serves 6


    8 assorted red, yellow and orange bell peppers cut into 1-inch wide strips

    3 large onions cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

    2 tsp finely chopped garlic

    1 tsp salt

    4 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil (You can use oil flavored with peppers or plain.)

    2 Tbl red-wine vinegar

    Cracked red pepper flakes to taste

    Italian sausages (one per person if they are large or more if you want leftovers). I use an assortment of spicy sausages and regular sausages, but once they are cooked, you can't tell them apart anyway. Boil the sausages in advance so there's no danger of under-grilling them. (You can boil them with a can of beer thrown in the water if you want to act like you're from Wisconsin.)

    Penne for six servings

    Olive oil

    Grated Romano


    Cook bell peppers, onions and garlic with salt in oil in a heavy pan over moderately low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally until softened for about 20 minutes. Just read the paper or a novel and stir when you feel like it. Cover the pot and continue to cook until the vegetables are very tender and just starting to brown. The same paper or novel will do in between stirring sessions. Stir in red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes to taste. It should be "zippy" to your taste.

    Later in the day . . .

    Recruit someone from the guest list to grill the Italian sausages while you cook the pasta. (Keeps you off your feet or with your guests.)

    Boil the water and cook the penne. How long you cook it, of course, depends on whether you have fresh or dry pasta. Just follow the directions and your nose.

    Reheat the peppers if you made them in advance and they've cooled off.

    Toss penne in large pasta bowl with a little oil. You don't need a lot because there will be plenty more left in the peppers that get added. Then toss in the warm pepper mixture and grated Romano. Have more grated Romano to pass.

Serving Suggestions:

    Place the grilled sausages on top of the penne and pass family-style or put on buffet.

    We served this with a fresh Buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and garlic bread. Very simple. Limoncello and fresh blueberry-almond tart for dessert.


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