Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti

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Matthew 28:18-20

New International Version (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Oh what a perfect fall morning!  It is cloudy with some promise of rain today.  I love it!   As I went rummaging through the freezer this weekend I found a package of some of my favorite sausage, Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Chicken SausageCasual Gourmet is a company based in San Leandro, California.  When my brother-in-law was a U.S.D.A. inspector he had an opportunity to go into their plant.  He told me that it was spotless and that they make a really great product. Their products are low fat, pork free, gluten free, no msg, and no nitrites but surprisingly very tasty.  Because they use chicken and turkey they can keep the sausage relatively low in fat.   We started buying their sausage at Costco, but we can also buy it locally at Krogers.  We have tried all their different varieties and we like them all.  This weekend I decided to add this sausage to some homemade spaghetti sauce and the end result was some of the most flavorful sauce I think I have ever made.  If you have a chance to buy some of the Casual Gourmet sausage I don’t think you will be sorry.

I am also going to add a few hints for thickening spaghetti sauce at the bottom of the recipe.  Your sauce may not be runny but sometimes mine is 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Spaghetti

  • 1 quart spaghetti sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 package (5 links) Casual Gourmet Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Sausage
  • Parmesan Cheese

Slice Sausage links into 1/4″  slices.
Brown them in a pot large enough to hold the addition of the spaghetti sauce.  They don’t need a lot of cooking as they are already cooked.
Add in the spaghetti sauce.
Simmer on low for at least a half hour or until you are ready to use.

Prepare pot of boiling water and cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Drain spaghetti well, top with spaghetti meat sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.  We added a salad and garlic bread.  Yum!

How to thicken spaghetti sauce?

Even though I cook down my spaghetti sauce for what seems to be hours and hours, occasionally it is still pretty thin after I can it.  I use several different options to thicken it slightly, depending on what I am going to use it for. 

I like spaghetti sauce thick enough to “stick to the spaghetti” when served.  Years ago someone told me to be sure and put some oil in the water when cooking pasta, so it won’t stick together.  I think this is bunk for several reasons.  I don’t believe it prevents pasta from sticking together, it adds unnecessary calories, and it keeps the sauce from clinging to the pasta.  For these reasons – no oil in my water!  Also, make sure your pasta is well drained, so it doesn’t add extra liquid.

Here are a few options for thickening sauce:

*            Simmer to evaporate off the excess water. (This will also intensive the flavor, so it could be a good thing, but if too much salt has been added, it can be a bad thing.)

*            Add extra ingredients.  Italians often add shredded carrots if the sauce is too acidic.  That cooks down quite mushy and adds body.

*            Add some cream cheese to make a creamy pink sauce, which is decadent.

*            Adding shrimp, chicken, cooked sausage or diced red peppers will thicken the sauce.

*              I have noticed that Barilla makes a lot of their pastas in a “rigate” style –ridges in the spaghetti, rigatoni, linguine. These ridges help the sauce adhere to the noodle. 

*            Add about 1/2 cup to a cup of Romano/Parmesan cheese to the sauce which adds flavor and thickening.  This can also be added to meatballs for added flavor and texture.

*            One of my favorites — add some Instant Minute Tapioca to my homemade spaghetti sauces. Works like a dream.

*            Italian flavored bread crumbs will thicken the sauce.

Casual Gourmet’s pork-free sausage and meatballs
are packed with natural, juicy flavor and have a
lot less fat than traditional pork and beef varieties.
And because they’re fully cooked, they let you get
a gourmet meal on the table in minutes.

•All-Natural Chicken and Turkey
Our sausage and meatballs are made with chicken and turkey that contain no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed.

• N0 Artificial Ingredients
We use only real food ingredients in our products, never anything that’s hard to pronounce.

•No Trans Fats
None of our products have these chemically altered, man-made fats.

•No MSG • No Nitrites
Except for those that occur naturally in celery powder, you won’t find any nitrites in our products. And our flavor comes from real ingredients, not additives like MSG.

•High Protein – Low Carb.
Our products are perfect for people who are looking to add a lower-fat source of good protein to their diets.

•Pork Free
We don’t use any pork in our products.

•Fully Cooked
Want lunch or dinner on the table quick? All of our products are fully cooked so all you do is heat and serve.

We’ve got four delicious varieties of gourmet, pork-free sausage.

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