Nov 15, 2010

IHCC Fall Favorites: Orzo w/ Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes

I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking with Giada.  Click the button for info on how to join in.
This week's IHCC theme is Fall Favorites. Living in Louisiana, fall sneaks off so fast it's kinda hard to relate.  Like Spring, it's a season that we miss if we bat our pretty little eyes, ya'll. 

But I lived in MO for a time and actually have some true down-n-dirty fall experience.  Complete with "frost on the pumpkin" crisp-cool weather, dazzling colors, and raking more leaves than I'm going to allow myself to remember (damn the neighbor's sycamore tree--those huge leaves were a PITA to rake up on a windy day).

But its all those fall leaves that once upon a time blew onto my lawn that made me choose Giada's Orzo w/ Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes for this fall theme.  In other words, it was the colors.  When I saw a picture of this dish in Giada's Kitchen, the reds and browns and tans reminded me of fall.

I made a few changes to the recipe, but nothing monumental.  I tripled the garlic b/c that's how we play around here...stinky breath and all.  (Don't stand so, don't stand so...don't stand so close to me.)  I used the "optional" red pepper flakes b/c, to me, red pepper in any form is a necessity rather than an option.  And while we're on the subject, hot Italian sausage went into this rather than mild turkey sausage.  In my house, not only do we like garlic breath, we like spicy garlic breath.  (Pleeeease don't stand so close to me)  I also used 3 links of hot sausage rather than 2 links b/c the proportion of pasta to meat seemed off.  But that's all I did to the original recipe.  Honest.

The Scoop: Yum!  The sweet, roasty-toasty red peppers (which I confess to eating straight out the jar) with the spicy red pepper flakes and sausage...the salty, nutty Parmesan with the freshness of the parsley and tomatoes all pulled together to produce a tasty, family-pleasing, easy-enough-for-a-weeknight (mid-week at that) dish.  We'd definitely eat this again.  Gladly.

Also submitted to:
Presto Pasta Nights (Nov 19th)--Debbi @ Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie is hosting this week
Cookbook Sundays @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen (Nov 21)

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Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes
slightly adapted from Giada's Kitchen

4 to 6 servings

3 cps water
3 cups chicken broth

1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups of water with chicken broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

While pasta is boiling, get out a large skillet. Heat oil in it over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook around 4 minutes, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as you go. (It should be cooked through, but not quite browned.) Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Saute 2 or 3 minutes, until everything is heated through.

Combine pasta, sausage mixture, and 1/2 the parsley in a large serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. If you need the pasta water to moisten it up, add it now. Mix well. Sprinkle Parmesan and the rest of the parsley on top. Serve.


  1. Dag, drooling now. I'll be back!

  2. You're so right about this one having all the colors of fall - very pretty! I bookmarked this same recipe just the other day because I knew it would be something that the whole family would love. Interestingly enough, all the changes you made would be the same changes that I would make too! Looks great.

  3. I totally agree about the garlic. I love that stuff and usually use double what a recipe calls for. This looks yummy and makes me crave pasta with sausage.

  4. I'm a Canadian who's heart belongs in Loussianna! I'm also a big fan of Giada's recipes so will definitely try this one.

    Nice to meet you - I joined in on Cooking with Giada via I hear Cooking and am looking forward to seeing all the recipes.

  5. I am marking this one to make for the coaches...this with some garlic bread and a salad would be a perfect dinner!

  6. Tripling the garlic is totally something I would do! This is gorgeous! Thanks for submitting this to presto pasta nights!

  7. YUM! What a fantastic and, I'm sure, satisfying pasta dish. You're so right about the fall colors, its gorgeous! I'm with you on the red pepper flakes being a necessity rather than an option too. Ditto for the garlic. I can't wait to try this! :)

  8. said such nice things about me in your comment of Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. Thanks. Just fly out to Vegas for a few days and join us for lunch.
    I'm going to post about your Blondies. Everyone loved them.

  9. I do not miss raking the leaves at all! Nothing sheds here in Southern California:) Home at last:)
    That orzo dish looks fantastic. I have several orzo aficionados around, and making it this season (I'll have to ignore the connotation to fall colors due to geography:)would please them tremendously.
    I would agree with you on all of your additions (and the "Police" in the background is priceless:).
    Love your writing!

  10. I always love Giada's recipes and your additions -garlic... can there ever be too much garlic? or some red pepper flakes to kick things up?... I think not. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  11. Gotta have the extra garlic and the spice too. This is such a pretty dish and perfect for fall. ;-)

  12. You and I are on the same page with garlic and spice. Even if a recipe doesn't call for it I am always adding garlic and red pepper flakes. I have everything but the sausage to make this. I cannot wait to give it a try.

  13. Always triple the garlic! You are my kind a gal. And I agree, spice that baby up! Yum. ☺

  14. Pasta with sausages and red peppers is a combination I only discovered a few months ago, and which has become a real favourite of ours - gotta have the spicy sausage, and gotta have that extra garlic. Great choice.
    Sue :-)

  15. Oh yeah, my kinda girl...the more garlic the better! This sounds pretty tasty :D Good choice.

  16. This dish looks delish. I love Orzo and the mantra in our house is "There's no such thing as too much garlic!"

  17. I forget about Orzo, but I think this recipe will help me to remember it! Thanks.

  18. Perfect modifications. I can eat spicy Italian dishes all year long, no matter the weather. This ones been on my list for a while. Thanks for the upgrade. Your plating is perfect, showing the colors of fall.

  19. I love the modifications some of my grandparents were from Louisiana(and Im from Texas) so we do understand the need for garlic and spice! Honey if you dont have garlic,seasoning and oninon in whatever you cook we nervous.

  20. I always use more garlic than a recipe calls for - love the stuff! And definitely hot Italian sausage is the way to go. We love heat too. Thank you so much for linking this yummy recipe up to Cookbook Sundays and my apologies for taking so long to visit you. Have a wonderful week!


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