Any sweet peppers will work in this dish, but we like colorful, tender baby bell peppers. When making a pasta dish, one simple trick will take the dish from good to great. Quality ingredients are a must; choose the best cheese and sausage available. The key to making great tasting pasta, however, is in the cooking water. Add about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a large stockpot of water before boiling. When the pasta is cooked, reserve a couple of cups of cooking water before draining the pasta. The salty, starchy liquid seasons your homemade sauce, gives it a silky texture and helps it cling to the noodles. Don’t rinse the pasta or you will wash away more of the good starch. Add the pasta water a little at a time, stirring until the sauce is rich and smooth. Hit the farmer’s market and pick up fresh sweet peppers. Spend some time at the dinner table this summer instead of sweating in the kitchen and enjoy a meal with the family.
1 pound uncooked orecchiette pasta
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound multicolored sweet baby bell peppers, thinly sliced crosswise
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.
While pasta cooks, cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, stirring to break into bite-size pieces, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Discard drippings.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to skillet, stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in pasta, sausage, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in cooking water, 1/4 cup at a time, until sauce is smooth and coats pasta. Discard any remaining cooking water. Stir in oregano.