Ziti Peperonata with Hot Sausage

The perfect trifecta of bell peppers, spicy hot Italian sausage, rich tomato sauce all over a bed of ziti and just a kiss of cheese.

This post is being sponsored by Redpack Tomatoes featuring their Tomato Puree, Crushed Tomatoes in puree and Tomato Paste. All opinions of these ABSOLUTELY AMAZING products are mine.

Oh My Goodness people, this dish! No for real, we need to talk! Here… grab yourself a fork and dig in while I yammer on about this recipe that you are going to IMMEDIATELY FALL IN LOVE WITH! How do I know this? Because it literally rendered Mr. Fantabulous speechless and in the middle of him telling me something as he took his first bite. True story! Folks, there have been very few times in our life together where that man is truly speechless to where he makes these almost animalistic, guttural groans/growls/moans that are inhuman when he eats. And to boot, he literally was mid-sentence telling me something really important as he shoved the very. first. bite into his mouth.

What happened after that… seriously I’m still smiling!

Whether you’re a professional chef, a home cook or someone who just wants to learn how to cook we all have one common trait. We seek praise and validation in the kitchen. We want to impress and for folks to appreciate the effort we put forth in the kitchen albeit making scrambled eggs to beef wellington. When you’re cooking for someone you want them to love it and more importantly, taste the effort and love you put into it.

Simple, honest ingredients at its finest!

This is one of those dishes where it’s only a few ingredients but when combined together you get one of the most flavorful dishes! It’s that dish that is perfect all year round. This is comfort food in a single pot (well okay 2 if you count the pot you cook the pasta in) that is awesome for a date night when you want to spice things up *hubba hubba* to a summer-time cookout! With it being football and hockey season this is a must-serve on your buffet table!  You can add either hot or sweet sausage (or be a rebel and add both!) plus you can totally mix up the types of pasta you want!  However when it comes to the pasta, definitely go for pasta versus a noodle as you want a heart pasta that the sauce and veggies can cling to. While the sausages or pasta are interchangeable the tomato products are not. Redpack Tomatoes are the ONLY acceptable (and TKW approved) brand to use!

Are all canned tomatoes created equally?

Absolutely NOT!  Epicurious, who we all know and love, voted their Whole peeled tomatoes as the “Best Canned Tomatoes”. And rightly so!  Just buy a can of Redpack and another brand and compare the difference yourself. Redpack Whole Peeled Plum tomatoes are the reddest tomato color. There are no oranges or yellows. Those oranges and yellow coloring in the other brand means those tomatoes aren’t ripe or picked at their peak of freshness!  Next, you get actual WHOLE tomatoes. Not bits and pieces that are all mashed up. Next, NO PEELS!  I cannot stand when you open up a can of whole tomatoes and there peels all throughout. Thankfully Redpack has me covered!  I never have a peel, any mushy tomatoes, and no off colored tomatoes. I get beautiful, whole, peel-less tomatoes each and every time! They truly have the highest-quality, best-tasting tomatoes! When it comes to Redpack Tomatoes I never have to worry as they truly create the best product out there.

Plus keep in mind, when you buy their Diced, Petite Dices and Crushed tomatoes they are all starting from their award-winning Whole Peeled Tomatoes! You’re guaranteed perfection and deliciousness!

The Prep

This dish is ridiculously simple. Seriously folks. I can’t even really say there’s a hard part. Well okay if you’re impatient like Mr. Fantabulous then there’s your hard part. You actually have to wait for it to cook. #thestruggleisreal with that man. You really only need two pots – one to cook the pasta in and the other to cook the actual Peperonata with hot sausages. So what is Peperonata? I honestly forgot about the name though this is a dish I’ve had it a bunch of times. It’s an Italian dish that once my Fantabulous family reads that I actually forgot about the name of it, they’ll disown me… for 2 minutes. LOL So Peperonata is a dish of stewed peppers (3 types, onions, and tomatoes). Peperonata is the base stew/sauce. It’s not a sauce as it’s thick, similar to how Sunday Gravy is. It can be eaten as-is though we tend to like it with hot sausages and sometimes Italian meatballs. For me, I actually prefer it on say a pizza crust or in a roll like a hoagie whereas the Fantabulous family loves it over pasta.

Non GMO Verified

With me as you know, quality matters. And call me old-fashioned but I want a company that I can trust and have faith in. Redpack is that company! If you look at the cans you’ll see the official Butterfly Logo on their cans. This means your family can trust that their family has taken the steps necessary to ensure your safety. This means that only the best, naturally derived ingredients go into their recipes. Their tomatoes are picked when they are absolutely vine ripe red thus eliminating the need to add artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in their cans.

Additionally, they’ve even taken further actions to ensure that your family is kept in mind. Their products are packed in non-BPA/BPS lined cans as well! Plus they are Certified Kosher, Sustainably Produced, Gluten Free, Made in the USA, Vegan, Cholesterol & Fat-Free and Allergy Friendly towards the 8 most common food allergies.

That time I actually rendered Mr. Fantabulous speechless!

Okay so let’s get back to what I was starting to tell you at the beginning of this post…rendering Mr. Fantabulous speechless. He literally put the fork into his mouth as he was telling me a story. I watched him close his lips around the fork, pull it out and then bite down into the food. His eyes popped wide open and he stared lovingly into my eyes as if I just gave him the gift of life in that single bite. He then started to slowly chew his food. Now for those that know him and have actually been out to eat with us, that man does not chew his food. I swear he swallows it whole. It’s unreal. This man literally savored every single bite. And the guttural moans coming from him were kinda sexy, not gonna lie but also one of the best compliments I could ever have.

But then he did something I have literally, in the 21 years I’ve known that man, do something I’ve never, EVER seen him do!

He’s going to kill me for sharing this but this is a PROUD CHEF MOMENT! He actually picked up the plate and LICKED HIS PLATE CLEAN!  Not joking around but legit licked his plate clean.  I have actual pictures but he made me swear on our marriage that I would never share those pictures. Sorry guys but you’re going to have to take my word on it.

That’s how I knew this was this dish was an epic success! It’s the little things folks, trust me on this!

Freezer friendly

One of the things I like to do when I make dishes (that are apparently a gift from the God’s per Mr. Fantabulous) is making another batch for the freezer and Papa Fantabulous. This dish is totally freezer friendly! Don’t include the pasta though as that can get gummy. Plus seriously it takes what, 10-12 minutes to make ziti. Just put the cooled mixture in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months though let’s be completely real. You’ll have it gone in about 2 weeks as it’s seriously that amazing!

The last time we went over the Fantabulous in-laws I took a huge container of this over. Papa Fantabulous raved over this big time. Sadly Mama Fantabulous can’t eat it due to the hot sausage. So next time I make this I’ll make a batch for her that is with sweet Italian sausage.

So if you totally want to blow someone away, you need to make this dish!  I’m telling you, this dish is EPIC in every single way!  But remember, you MUST use Redpack Tomatoes for the BEST TOMATO TASTE!


Ziti Peperonata with Hot Sausage

Serves: 4-6

Find more fantabulous recipes, tips and tricks at www.thekitchenwhisperer.net. Also, join our TKW Family on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram
Ingredients
  • 1 28 oz can Redpack Crushed Tomatoes in Puree
  • 1 28 oz can Redpack Tomato Puree
  • 1 12 oz can Redpack Tomato Paste
  • 1 (each) whole red, orange and yellow bell pepper (3 peppers total) sliced into 1/4-1/2” chunks
  • 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion sliced into 1/4” pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2-3 Tbl olive oil
  • 6 hot sausage links
  • 16 ounces cooked ziti
  • *1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 8-12 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut (sliced into small ribbons)
  • Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbl of oil and the hot sausage links. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan, set aside and add the rest of the oil to the pan.
  2. To the pan, add in the onions and 3 types of peppers. Sauté for 1 minute then add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of oregano and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. Stir and continue to sauté for ~6-8 minutes or until the onions and peppers just start to soften.
  3. To the pan, add in the Redpack Tomato Paste and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until you can “smell” the tomato paste starting to cook. It will develop a deeper tomato smell. However, do NOT burn as it will make the dish bitter.
  4. To this add the Redpack Crushed Tomatoes in Puree, Redpack Tomato Puree, rest of the salt, pepper, oregano and dried basil. Stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is cooking cut the seared hot sausages into 1” slices then place these into the sauce, stir. Place a lid partially covering the pan as you will want the steam to escape. Reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for 45 minutes. Stir a few times while cooking as to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  6. After 45 minutes, remove the lid and allow to cook for 15 more minutes. If the sauce it too thick for your liking, pour in a little of the reserved pasta water to thin it out until the desired consistency is achieved. I didn’t add any as I like a thick sauce that hugs the pasta.
  7. After 15 minutes, shut the heat off, remove the pan from the stove, add in the fresh basil slices and stir.
  8. Place a portion of the cooked ziti on a plate, ladle on the Ziti Peperonata with Hot Sausage and top with grated Grana Padano cheese.

 

One Response to “Ziti Peperonata with Hot Sausage”

  • JoeW says:

    Made this last night.
    Keeper, keeper, keeper!

    Couldn’t find the Redpacks (Although their store locator PROMISED that the local Safeway had them. I graciously did NOT fault the recipe or you for this.), but I survived.

    We will not delve too deeply into the sausages that I had to use, since the butcher had no hot Italian (or mild, either).

    OK, maybe I didn’t make this recipe at all, given that all the ingredients were “off”, but it was good anyway.

    Anyway, thanks for this, Lori.

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