Skillet Sausage and Shells {Easy Weeknight Meal}

A lot of my best ideas come at the last minute.  I'm a chronic "seat of my pants" lesson planner- I write lesson plans but never follow them.  Many times I'll see something better, more fun, more engaging, shiny (I may be part raccoon) on Pinterest or Instagram right before a class and drop everything to work on it.

I'm the same way with cooking.  There are some recipes I follow exactly, like baking cookies or a boeuf bourgignon.  But for a weeknight dinner, it's not uncommon for me to take pieces of recipes, put them together, and throw salt over my shoulder for good luck.

This time, I looked at a few of my staple sausage recipes but nothing interested me. I shopped my pantry and created my own recipe based on what I had.  This was a satisfying, hearty, and easy meal that came together in about 30 minutes.

Skillet Sausage and Shells
An Everyone deServes to Learn Original

1 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage
1/4 cup chopped sweet bell peppers
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock, divided
8 oz dry pasta shells (or rigatoni, or ziti...whatever you like!)
1 tbsp EVOO
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Heat the EVOO over medium high heat. Add the sausage and brown for about 3 minutes on each side.  Add the chopped peppers and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with 1 cup beef stock, allow to reduce by almost half.  Add the diced tomatoes and pasta.  Stir to coat the pasta with sauce, then add more stock if needed.  (I used both cups of stock.)  Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer at medium heat for 20 minutes, covered.  

Stir during the last 5 minutes to test for doneness.  Add salt to taste.  One pasta is tender, stir in Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and top with mozzarella.  Allow mozzarella to melt, or pop under the broiler for a few minutes.  Sprinkle on some basil and parsley (I only had dried, but fresh would be better) and serve immediately. 

You can change the seasonings as you'd like- add some red hot pepper for spice, or some Italian Seasoning for a more savory taste.  All in all, this was simple, fast, and perfect for a chilly weeknight.  Mangia!


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