Happy Monday, friends!
A new week means a new meal prep and this week I wanted to use up another item from my Butcher Box – ground pork!
I used to be a vegetarian but was having to pay too much attention to what I was eating in order to get enough protein in, so I started eating meat again but wanted to do it in the least harmful way possible while still being economical. For a while it was just chicken for me, but I’m using Butcher Box to start branching out and I’m really excited about it.
This week’s prep is inspired by a meal I made in college once that was delicious but I haven’t made since – a Sausage, Peppers, and Onions Pasta. I remember loving it but I haven’t made it since so it was time to change that. I wanted to layer a lot of flavors in it without using a ton of ingredients and I think it turned out pretty well, and is also super flexible depending on what you’ve got!
Here are some tips for success:
- Season with thought: I used the ground pork instead of sausage, but you can definitely use either, or any other ground meat you’d like. The key is going to be seasoning your dish based on whatever meat you’re using – sausage has a lot of seasonings in it so you won’t need to add as much as I did for mine.
- Taste as you go: related to my first tip, always taste as you go so you’re not seasoning blindly. The way the recipe is written you can take a bit at any point after you cook the meat so no concerns about eating undercooked meat here. Add what you think it needs! It’s your dish, so mind as well make it fit what you think tastes good. If it tastes bland, I always start with some salt because salt brings out flavors
- Balance acidic tomatoes: canned tomatoes can be super acidic and the easiest way to balance that out is a pinch of sugar. Not enough to make the dish sweet, but enough to cut all that acid and make it more pleasant
- Account for absorbed liquids: as this meal sits in the fridge, the pasta is going to soak up a bit of extra liquid, so make it a bit more liquid-y when you first make it so that you don’t end up with dry pasta when it comes time to enjoy. If it does end up a bit dry, just add a splash of water when you heat it up and you’ll be in good shape
That’s it! This one is easy and mostly one pot which makes clean up a breeze as well. What more could you want??
Sausage, Peppers, and Onion Pasta
makes 6 servings
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 lb ground pork or sausage
- 3 bell peppers, of various colors
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning, plus more to taste
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup white wine, or water/broth
- 28oz can diced tomatoes
- ½ lb (8 oz) pasta
How to do it
- prep all the veg: cut the peppers and onion into 1” slices. mince the garlic. set aside. place the fennel seeds into a small plastic bag and crush with a heavy pan. set aside
- start cooking: in a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and the ground pork or sausage and ½ tsp salt. if using sausage, remove the casing before adding to the pan. use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces and cook until no pink remains. remove from the pot, leaving the fat and juices behind, and set aside
- add the veg, remaining salt, and pepper into the pot and cook until they’re softened and onions are becoming translucent. Add the garlic and remaining seasonings and cook for 2-3 minutes
- add the pork back to the pot along with the tomato paste. mix well and cook until the tomato paste has darkened in color. add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all of that flavor up. cook for 2-3 minutes
- add the tomatoes to the pot and mix well. taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. turn the heat down to low while you make the pasta
- cook the pasta: add the pasta to salted, boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than what is listed on the package
- bring it all together: when the pasta is done, reserve some of the pasta water before draining and adding to the pork and veg mixture. combine well and add about ½ C of the reserved pasta water. add more pasta water as needed to get your desired sauce texture. taste and adjust seasoning as needed
- store and enjoy: store in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave or on the stove top. enjoy!