- Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- Servings: 5
- Preparation Time: 25 minutes
- 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb Italian sausage (in casings)--you can use sweet, or hot for extra fire
- 1 eggplant, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 lb of mushrooms, sliced--your choice, I like Portobello and cremini, but white button will do fine
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 can of black olives, pitted, drained and cut in halves
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 lbs tomatoes or 1 large can of plain tomato sauce
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 box rigatoni pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- To make sauce by hand: Slice tomatoes and put into heated pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook on medium-high heat until skins loosen. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process tomatoes through a food mill, which will give you a smoother sauce with less seeds, or in a blender on low speed, which will give you a chunkier sauce and keep in more seeds. Add dried oregano, put in a non-metallic bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight if possible. The longer the sauce rests the better, but you can use it immediately if need be.
- In a large pot, add water according to package pasta directions and set to boil.
- Turn your broiler to high and place the red peppers on a baking sheet. Put the sheet on a rack about 6 inches beneath the broiler and broil for five minutes at a time, turning each time until the skin becomes slightly charred and the flesh is soft, be cautious the flesh does not begin to burn. When finished, remove from oven, place them in a paper bag or roll them in paper towels and set aside to cool.
- In a large skillet, brown the sausage in the casings until cooked completely. Remove from the pan and set aside. If there is fat in the pan, do not drain it off.
- In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add onions and garlic and cook on medium-high heat, stirring until they begin to brown slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the eggplant and olives to the pan and cook until the eggplant begins to brown and soften. Add in the mushrooms then slice the sausages and add them to the mix. Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the red peppers, chop coarsely and add to the pan.
- Slice five or so large basil leaves and add to the pan, continuously but gently stirring. When everything has heated and softened, add in the tomato sauce and reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook the pasta to al dente instructions. Just as it finishes, take two spoonfuls of the water and add it to the sauce, stirring well.
- Drain the pasta but do not rinse. Put it back in the pot, add the sauce and mix well. Transfer to serving dish or plates, top with grated parmesan if desired. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and serve immediately.
NotesHa ha...I came up with this today out of desperation, I was supposed to be making pizza. But, thanks to the crappy water here, I had another failed batch of dough and the clock was striking dinnertime. So, with all the pizza toppings prepped and ready, I just cooked up some rigatoni and threw it all together in the pot. My guests were raving and this easy dish saved my night!
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