Are you the type of person who only goes to baseball games for that huge Italian hoagie stuffed with sausage and peppers? We’re with you. This week, our chefs took the beloved dish from stadium fare to elegant weeknight dinner with a few delicious twists. First, they dropped the hoagie and replaced it with twisty cavatappi pasta. Its nooks are perfect for clinging to silky roasted garlic tomato sauce studded with crispy bits of sausage. Bell pepper is roasted to bring out depth and sweetness, then thinly sliced and swirled in. Plus, there’s cheese both in the sauce and sprinkled on top. It’s safe to say this dish knocks it out of the park.
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Three Little Pigs Pork Sausage
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wash and dry all produce. Halve bell pepper, then remove and discard stem and seeds. Thinly slice chili, removing seeds for less heat. Remove sausage from casings; discard casings.
Drizzle bell pepper halves with oil, salt, and pepper; place cut sides down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Place garlic cloves on a small piece of foil and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper; cinch into a packet and place on baking sheet. Roast until bell pepper is lightly charred and garlic is softened, 20-25 minutes.
Once water is boiling, add cavatappi to pot. Cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water (2 cups for 4 servings), then drain.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat into pieces, until browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes. (TIP: If there’s excess grease in your pan, carefully pour it out.) If desired, stir in a pinch of chili; cook until fragrant, 15 seconds. Add tomato paste and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water (¾ cup for 4 servings). Simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Transfer roasted bell pepper halves to a cutting board; thinly slice. Remove roasted garlic cloves from foil; transfer to cutting board and gently mash with a fork. Return pan with sauce to low heat. Add mashed garlic and stir to combine. Stir in sliced bell pepper, cavatappi, sour cream, 2 TBSP butter (4 TBSP for 4 servings), and half the Parmesan. (TIP: If needed, stir in more reserved cooking water a splash at a time until pasta is coated in a creamy sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.
Divide pasta between bowls. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and, if desired, a pinch of remaining chili.