We all have our favorite recipes. And we all have vices. This recipe combines the best (best?) of both of them in my little world.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe ever since I started blogging. It’s one of those recipes I make it at least once a month, a favorite staple in our house and one I break out when company shows up unexpectantly because I always have the ingredients on hand.
But because it’s such a favorite for dinner, it’s usually dark by the time I’m done cooking and we’re hungry and there’s no light to take a pretty picture or any pasta left anyway. Oh, the life of a food blogger, balancing hunger pains of the family for you my lovely readers.
I change this recipe up by using different sausages, different color peppers or sometimes none at all, thick cut pappardelle, rigatoni or fetuccine, whatever I have in the pantry. But I always make sure mushrooms and marsala wine are included.
The marsala wine is the key ingredient here. Simmered with fresh rosemary the marsala creates a flavor that doesn’t compare. Like I said, it’s my favorite and I use it in place of white wine all the time, with sautéed chicken dishes, in gravies and even in desserts like in my Mascarpone Pumpkin Mousse Cups. Obsessed I tell you.
Five tips for making and adapting my favorite pasta:
1. If you want to watch your cream intake, substitute it with 1/4 cup or so of mascarpone or another creamy cheese to help thicken the marsala sauce.
2. Make sure your pasta is al denté when adding it to the sauce as you’ll want to cook it for a minute or two it it to soak up all of the winey/creamy notes.
3. If I don’t have rosemary in the fridge or its too snowy to snip some from the garden, I’ll toss in fresh basil or even thyme to keep it on the savory side. An added sprinkle of parsley adds a freshness before serving.
4. If you’re looking for a purely vegetarian version, ditch the sausage and use sliced portobello mushrooms to give some girth to the meal. Or if you’re a chicken lover, toss in a few slices or dices of uncooked chicken breast in the first step then add an additional tablespoon of olive oil with the peppers and onions and follow the directions from there. When adding the marsala wine, be sure to scrape up the flavor bits from the bottom of the pan.
5. Be careful not to add the tomatoes too early or they’ll bleed and begin to disappear into the sauce and leave nothing but a tomato skin. If using a tomato other than whole cherry tomato, be sure to seed it first and cut into a nice dice.
Sausage and Marsala Pappardelle
- 8 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 4 links smoked turkey sausage sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 6 large mushrooms sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 cup sweet marsala wine
- kosher salt
- parmesan cheese for garnish
- Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil then generously salt with kosher salt. Add pappardelle pasta and cook until al dente then drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta sauce.
- While pasta is cooking begin cooking the sauce. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil and then add red bell pepper slices and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring occasionally. Season with kosher salt, add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add garlic, turkey sausage and red pepper flakes and cook until turkey is warmed through, about 3 minutes.
- Add cream, marsala, tomatoes and rosemary to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until sauce thickens and tomatoes soften. Gently fold in pasta to skillet until coated. If you'd like more sauce, add reserved pasta water one tablespoon at a time or another pour or two of cream if you want a heavier sauce. Garnish with parmesan, kosher salt and more rosemary if desired. Serve immediately.
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