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A twist on your typical sausage and peppers

July 20, 2007

A long time ago, in the harried rush to get a weekend’s worth of food, clothes, and activities for 4 people together before heading out on our family’s boat to Davis Park on Fire Island, Long Island, my mom came across this recipe. Looking back, I can’t imagine how she did all of this nearly every weekend from the end of June through Labor Day weekend – for at least 4 summers in a row. Nonetheless, I remember the night she tried this recipe on us as we squeezed into the 4 person dinette in the boat’s cabin. At the age of 11 or 12, I know that I most likely turned up my nose at eating green peppers. Not a surprise, though, because I always turned my nose up at the prospect of having to eat green peppers. I ate the dish anyway (and probably picked out a lot of the peppers) but we all loved it! This was an easy and relatively inexpensive meal for my mom to make at home, pack in the cooler, and serve cold on the boat. By eating it cold, my mom avoided having to heat up the already overheated and sickeningly humid boat cabin…and it avoided my dad having to standing over the grill in the rain with an umbrella (how can you get through a few weekends in the summer without it raining??) trying to cook us dinner. This became a much-loved dish in my family for years to come.

Fast-forward about 10 or 12 years to the night when my whole family brought dinner to my grandma who was in the hospital recovering from a knee replacement. This was the main course that night and it was the first time Kyle had ever tried it (I wasn’t much of a cook way back in the beginning of our relationship). We got in the car that night and he said to me, “That was SO good. You have to find out how to make that.” And the rest is history. This is now in Kyle’s “Top 3” which also consists of my chicken parmesan and our caprese pasta dish that I’ve yet to blog about.

Looking at the picture above, it does look a little plain, but trust me, it’s full of flavor. The sausage explodes with flavor when cooking it down with the wine, and I’ve found out through trial and error that the type of wine I use really does matter. Neither of us are wine drinkers (Kyle is allergic and I think that I may be) so I don’t usually have “good” drinking wine in the house and had been using regular cooking wine you can find in the grocery store. That all changed last night when the dish was taken to another level with the leftover Chardonnay from the fridge that I wanted to use up before it went bad. Amazing what some “good” drinking wine will do!! My mom’s original recipe is below with a couple of my modifications below that.

Pasta, Sausage and Peppers

  • 1 lb shells or other small macaroni
  • 6 tbsp olive oil*
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup dry white wine*
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 cups diced green peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup parsley*
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese*

Cook pasta, drain, rinse in cold water, add 2 tbsp olive oil, and toss.* Remove sausage casings, cook meat thoroughly, stirring. Stir in wine and cook until thickened*. Remove this from pan, set aside. Add remaining oil* to skillet with onions and peppers, saute until almost tender, stirring often. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Return sausage to skillet. Add parsley and heat. Add sausage and cheese to pasta and toss well.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 8


  1. I reduce the oil by half. We eat the dish hot so I don’t rinse the pasta or toss it in olive oil. I use 1 tbsp to cook the sausage and 2 tbsp to saute the veggies.
  2. My mom’s version notes that you can substitute beer for wine if you don’t have any wine.
  3. If I don’t already have parsley in the house, don’t worry about it. If I don’t have it, I won’t by it just for this dish as I’m not a fan of it.
  4. When has a little extra cheese hurt anyone? We always top the dish with some extra grated Parmesan.
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