Sharing a wholesome meal with your beloved pals
Few things bring people together as well as food.
Food is the focal point of any social event — first dates, holidays, baseball games, carnivals.
Sharing a meal together can be an intimate experience and a fun way to get together with your friends.
When my friends and I get together, we turn it into a potluck where each of us brings something to munch on. The food can be just as filling as the conversation.
While this is usually a causal get-together, hosting a dinner party can also be more of a fancy event.
My preferred entrée of choice is pasta — sweet, sweet carbs. Pasta can take many forms and flavors and pairs well with a variety of beverages and vegetables.
And of course, you can’t forget dessert to tie off the night.
Try this recipe for sausage and roasted red pepper pasta the next time you have friends over.
Ingredients (serves four):
- 2 red bell peppers
- 18 ounces sweet Italian pork sausage
- 12 ounces Gemelli pasta
- 4 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 5 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Adjust the rack in the oven to the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Halve the red bell pepper, then remove and toss the core and stem. Thinly slice the chili. Remove sausage from casings.
- Drizzle the red pepper halves with oil, salt and pepper, then place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Place whole cloves of garlic in a medium-sized piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Cinch the foil into a closed pouch and place on the baking sheet alongside the peppers. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the peppers begin to char and the garlic cloves are soft, then remove from the oven.
- While the veggies roast, add pasta to boiling water. Cook for about 9-11 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water, then drain.
- In a large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, breaking up into pieces for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Pour out any excess fat from the pan. Stir in a pinch of chili and cook for 15 seconds. Add tomato paste and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Simmer until thickened, then turn off heat.
- Transfer the roasted red bell pepper halves to a cutting board and thinly slice. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from the foil and gently smash with a fork. Return pan with sauce to low heat and add garlic, stirring to combine. Stir in sliced red bell pepper, pasta, sour cream, two tablespoons of butter and half the Parmesan. If the sauce seems dry, stir in a splash of the remaining pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide pasta between bowls or plates. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and chili, if desired.
This meal pairs well with any green vegetable and friendly conversation.