I’m not sure if it’s the French frugality gene or just the fact that I stash everything away for travel, but I don’t waste a penny these days.
As a result, more often than not what we eat is dictated by what is on sale at the grocery store. Recently, it has been red peppers. That’s fine with me, as they are usually rather pricey.
In fixing Sunday supper, I surveyed the contents of the refrigerator and found three red peppers, a handful of mushrooms and some leftovers diced tomatoes, the better part of a 14.5-ounce can.
This is what I came up with and it was a huge hit with my husband.
Roasted Red Peppers with Red Pepper Fettuccine
3 medium red peppers
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 ¼ cups fire-roasted tomato sauce
1 large bay leaf
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Preheat oven to 425. Cut the peppers from top to bottom, following the lines of the pepper. Trim the pieces into strips, cutting away any excess membrane. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, checking frequently to ensure each piece is thoroughly roasted. The peppers will have black spots when you remove them from the oven. Set aside to cool.
You will have some small pieces of pepper left over. Don’t toss them out. Carefully trim them from the tops and bottoms of the pepper and chop them. Chop the onion, too, and sauté both pepper and onion until the onion turns yellow. Set aside.
Brown the Italian sausage in olive oil in a heavy and deep skillet, using a wooden spatula to break it apart. Add the garlic, then about five minutes later, add the diced tomatoes, followed by the onion and diced pepper and the bay leaf. Do not add the larger pieces of roasted pepper at this time.
Simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the prepared pasta sauce.
In a separate pan, brown the mushrooms in olive oil. Add these to the simmering sauce. Allow the sauce to cook on low for another 10-15 minutes before adding the roasted peppers. Remove the bay leaves.
Serve over red-pepper fettuccine. Grate mozzarella or Parmesan cheese on top, or toss on some cheese crumbles. I added a spicy blend of dried red-pepper flakes and garlic at just before serving.
“Sweet with a bite,” was my husband’s reaction. And it cost pennies.