Greeks have been preserving the Summer’s bounty for ages – anything from sun-drying tomatoes, pickling, curing olives to even meats. In Florina (where my parents come from), you can see red shepherds peppers air-drying outside of homes in the late summer warm and breezy air.
These dried peppers can then be re-hydrated in hot water and use for cooking in the winter months. These same red peppers can also be pickled but thanks to freezers, I love blistering the skins of peppers, cooling them then tuck them into zip-lock bags and placed in the freezer for future use.
Florina peppers are PDO appellation product and they are one of my family’s faves. I enjoyed them peeled of their blistered skins, sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
There are many other recipes for red shepherds peppers on this site and now you can add this one. It’s the middle of winter and there’s no fresh tomato to be found. Red peppers are sweet, the charred ones I’ve saved in the freezer are smoky and today they will become the base for a warm, comforting pasta sauce.
This dish begins with removing the casings of pork sausages and browning them. Then I add onions, garlic, some diced sweet banana peppers, wine and of course, peeled and seeded roasted red peppers.
I purée the peppers so they become the equivalent of tomato paste. Some water or stock is needed to help cook down the sauce and in no time a wonderful, comforting pasta dish is ready. This sauce is ideal for a Misko #5 pasta – a thicking hollow spaghetti akin to bucatini.
I love this pasta shape…a fave for many Greeks as the hollow pasta allows for the sauce to get right inside. There are two cheeses used in this dish: one is Halloumi from Cyprus, melts into the sauce, stringy and gooey then there’s Kefalotyri, a sharp sheep’s milk cheese for finishing the dish.
Misko Pasta With Sausage & Red Pepper Sauce
1 – 500gr. package of Misko #5 pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 of your favourite pork sausages, casings removed and sausage meat crumbled
2 medium onions, diced
1 banana pepper, diced
5-6 clvoes of garlic, minced
5-6 roasted red peppers, charred skins peeled and seeded
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup hot water or stock
pinch of chilli flakes (Boukovo)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
reserved pasta water
1 cup diced Halloumi cheese
grated Kefalotyri cheese to taste (1/2 cup)
- Place a large pot of water on your stovetop and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and once a boil returns, add your pasta and cook for about 7 minutes.
- In the meantime, place a large skillet on your stovetop over medium heat and add your sausage meat. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon and brown then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Now add the onions, diced green peppers, garlic and sweat for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the skins, seeds and stems of your roasted peppers and purée in your food processor. Dilute with hot water or stock and add into your skillet along with the white wine.
- Bring up to boil, add the sausage meat back into the sauce, add salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Drain your pasta (reserve some of the water) and add to your sauce along with the diced Halloumi cheese, chilli flakes and chopped basil. Toss to coat the pasta and allow for the cheese to melt. If the sauce is too dry, add some reserved pasta water and toss.
- Divide and plate, sprinkle with dried Greek oregano, grated Kefalotyri cheese and enjoy with a bottle of Pavlou Estate Kappa 62 Xinomavro-Syrah blend.
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