Sausage Rustica

Sausage Rustica
Olive Garden’s Sausage Pepper Rustica

Sausage Rustica used to be one of my favorite dishes at Olive Garden, but they don’t have it on the menu anymore.  The proper name is “Sausage and Pepper Rustica”,  but I shortened it.   So I tracked the recipe down on the internet, because I just had to have it.  However, I’m not a big fan of most sausage, but this dish is amazing.  And it is surprisingly simple  to make.

You make the Marinara first.  If you really want it to have that yummy fresh taste, start with fresh tomatoes.  Canned whole tomatoes work okay.  Read your can and make sure it’s only tomatoes and maybe a little water and salt.  If it’s full of preservatives and sugar and stuff, PUT THE CAN BACK.  While it doesn’t matter with most recipes, those things ruin recipes whose main function is to taste fresh.  Also, Sausage Rustica just means “rustic sausage”.  In other words, it’s a simple old fashioned recipe.   Old fashioned, homemade food did not have all those chemicals in it.

At the end of the recipe, I added a video on the proper way to make pasta.  Believe it or not, you don’t just empty it into a strainer and take it straight to the plate.  Since I started using this method, I can’t tell you how awesome the pasta tastes and the sauce sticks better to the pasta.  People will sing your praises if you stick to the basics on this recipe and follow the directions on preparing pasta.

INGREDIENTS:

1 package Hot  Italian Sausage Links
4 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 each red, orange and yellow peppers, seeded & cut into 1″ x 1/4″ strips
SALSA MARINARA
1 quart of tomatoes
1 quart of pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Basil, fresh, chopped finely, firmly packed
3/4 pound Ziti pasta
Parsley
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Bake  sausage until fully cooked. Drain.
Cut sausages half lengthwise; then cut into 1/2″ slices. Result will be semi-circles of sausage.
Sauté pepper slices in olive oil until their crispness is lost, but not soft.
For Salsa Marinara (5 cups):
Do not puree the tomatoes, just break them up.
Combine tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil in sauce pan. Bring to a light simmer.
Cook pasta. Top with sausage, peppers and salsa marinara.
Garnish each plate with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Finally, if you like Olive Garden food as well as I do, you might want to try some of their other recipes yourself.  I got my Sausage and Pepper Rustica recipe originally from their website.  Most noteworthy, they change the recipes from time to time, so don’t count on them being there forever.  If you find one you like, copy it, because it probably won’t be there next time.



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