Dark, rainy, cold and dreary had me searching through the pantry for my good old trusty Crock Pot to see if I could make a cozy romantic meal for supper! I don’t know why I don’t use it more often, I guess it just never crosses my mind because I really enjoy cooking in it. Especially on days like this! I love that there’s a long leisure time, because it gives me plenty of time to get laundry, housework, and any dishes caught up.
Omg, I sound like a Stepford wife. Except for the oversized, t-shirt. And pj bottoms. Aaaaand no make-up on and in my sock-feet. Ok, whew, not exactly a “Stepford wife” thank god. But I do admit, I was probably born in the wrong time. Like WAY the wrong time. What’s happening in our country and around the world about makes me crazy. I think I would’ve been happier being a housewife in the 50’s. Without the internet, my house wouldn’t be so dusty, too. But life was simpler then, and people just seemed happier.
So with the weather dreary, and being overly tired, I really wanted a simple “one pot wonder” today, but it took one pan. And one pot. So it’s a one pan one pot wonder. But at least I dirtied a lot less dishes than I normally do. And the kitchen wasn’t a complete disaster area, either. Didn’t even need to break out the yellow crime scene tape or anything! I think my crock pot and I are going to snuggle more this winter. I may knit him a scarf for Christmas. As soon as I learn how to knit.
Anyways, this was one VERY good pot of cacciatore-my-way with spicy sausage instead of the usual chicken, and packed with tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic, black olives and a nice choice of herbs and seasonings! A very nice whole grain conchiglie (shell pasta), and TWO wines actually made their way into the pot as well. A nice glug or two of white wine, and the last bit of red just to clear out and make space in the fridge. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s a good idea to get that done. You know, finish off all those bottles of wine — I mean, get the fridge cleared out and make room for all that turkey day food. Yep, that’s what I meant. 😉
I’m actually not a wine drinker, and even if you aren’t either, please do add some wine. It really does add to this dish and I doubt it would be nearly as good without. I just get a very small bottle, middle of the road priced, white and red to cook with and it does just fine for us. It doesn’t have a strong “winey” flavor, and as a matter of fact, you really can’t actually tell it’s in there. But believe me, it does add rich flavor and depth.
So I hope you find this dish appealing and something you’d like to make, too. It’s easy, economical, and frees you up to get other things done. Like that Christmas card list and that Thanksgiving Day grocery list….I don’t even want to think about it. But however you spend your extra time, at least you’ll have some! It comes together quickly, finishes quickly, and WOW is it ever delicious! Hope you give it a try and have a most beautiful day! 🙂
SLOW-SIMMERED SPICY SAUSAGE CACCIATORE with CONCHIGLIE
Serves about 6
1 (1 lb.) pkg. hot italian sausage links
1/2 cup water
1 (28 oz.) can Petite Diced Tomatoes, I like Hunt’s
1 medium onion, cut chunky
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small bite-sized
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms, or slice if preferred
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. jarred minced garlic, or more if using fresh, (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup good chicken bouillon, I make mine from Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbl. red wine
1 (2.25 oz.) can premium sliced black olives, drained
2 medium-sized dried bay leaves
2 cups whole grain or regular conchiglie, (medium shell pasta), Barilla’s worked extremely well!
freshly grated asiago cheese, can sub fresh parmesan cheese but the asiago was wonderful!
minced fresh parsley if desired to garnish
crusty french bread for sopping!
In large frying pan, add sausages and water, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes per side. *Just a few minutes less than required according to package directions. You want them to get a head start, lightly brown on the outside, then let them finish cooking in the crock pot.
In large crock pot (*I used my oval one that’s a very nice size and it was only half full), add rest of ingredients except pasta. Give it a light stir to mix. Place sausages on top and nestle in.
Cover and heat crock pot to High just to get it started. After 30 minutes, turn down to Low and continue cooking for another 4 hours.
Remove sausages with tongs to a cutting board, add uncooked pasta and stir well. Cover and turn back to High.
Slice sausages into chunks of any desired size. Bite-sized slices, or chunk into thirds or fourths. Add sausage back to crock pot, stir a little, lightly press everything down into the juice to cover with back of large spoon, and place lid back on.
Cook (on High) for 30 minutes. Stir well, turn down to Low, and cook until desired tenderness. Another 15 to 30 minutes. *Depending on how hot your crock pot gets and what kind you have, pasta may be al dente or done as early as the first 30 minutes on High. It depends on your own appliance and what pasta you use. So taste-test after the first 30 minutes, and you can judge easily from there. (*I used Barilla’s Whole Grain Medium Shells, and it was almost al dente after the first 30 minutes. I stirred well, and let it go on Low for another 15 minutes.)
Ladle into shallow bowls, grate some fresh asiago cheese on top, garnish with a little fresh parsley, and be sure to serve with some warm, crusty french bread to sop up all of the wonderful juices! Heavenly!