Bratwurst, Pasta and Vodka Sauce

I’m sure you’re all thinking, what a strange combination! But I assure you it is a delightful one! I am always looking for new ways to cook old favorites, and Bratwurst is no exception to that! I love them grilled, or boiled in beer with sauteed onions and peppers, and frankly, this recipe is sort of a combination. But since I was low on stuff in my kitchen, which is often the case here since I’m 60 miles from any sort of decent grocery store, this is a new twist on pasta.

Here’s the things I used:

4 bratwurst. Mine were made from antelope and were seasoned with Italian Herbs and Garlic. Trust me, they’re just as good grilled as they are this way! You could just as easily substitute an American classic such as Johnsonville Brats and this will taste just as lovely!

1 med-large onion (diced)

1 red (or green, or yellow) bell pepper (sliced)

Frozen or fresh broccoli or asparagus. I used frozen broccoli because I rarely have fresh veggies, other than asparagus on hand. It’s a drawback to living on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, but we manage, somehow!

1/2 stick of butter

1 dark beer

Penne (or your favorite kind of pasta) cooked as per the box instructions (I always add salt and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the water).

Canned or homemade vodka sauce. And I know I’ve said I’d post my vodka sauce recipe at some point-this sadly, for those of you waiting, isn’t it. I was rushing around this time, and had to use canned. My favorite canned vodka sauce is Bertoli, in case any of you were wondering. If only I learned how to can maybe I could can my own vodka sauce!?! I digress.

Here’s what you’re going to do:

1. Add the butter to a hot 12 in skillet (in this case it’s my trusty cast iron skillet), then the bratwurst. You want to brown the outsides, but not cook the inside so much. So essentially you’re searing the meat. Once you’ve turned the meat a couple times and you start to see some yummy brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, add about 1/4 of the beer. You’re going to do a bit of de-glazing here. Continue turning the meat until all sides are browned, and you’ve used 1/2 your beer.

2. Once seared, you will remove them and cut them into slices, adding them back into the pan. Continue de-glazing until your meat is almost cooked through. you don’t want to cook it all the way, because you’ll overcook it if you do.

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Just lookin’ at this makes me hungry!

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3. When the meat is cooked until almost all the pink is gone, remove the meat and add the diced onion. They will pick up all the yummy goodness the bratwurst and beer left behind! Don’t be scared to let them get a bit brown. They’re yummier that way! Cook them on medium high heat for just a couple minutes.

Look how yummy the fond in the bottom of this pan is!

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Onions:

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Yummy!

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4. Once the onion has started to turn transparent, add your diced red pepper and fresh or frozen broccoli.

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Reduce heat to low, cover for a couple minutes and then stir.

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Mmmm… even the broccoli is picking up that brown goodness left at the bottom of the pan!

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5. Once your broccoli and peppers are properly steamed, add your diced bratwurst back to the pan.

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At this point, as yummy as that looks right now, you could easily stop here and serve it over white or brown rice, or even just as is- it would be super good! You’d want to salt and pepper to taste if you were going to do that!

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6. I’m sure this is unconventional, but it’s how I decided, in my rush, to do it tonight. I dumped the can of vodka sauce on top of the meat and veggies, covered it and turned off my pan. There was enough heat in there to warm the sauce well without over-cooking the veggies or meat.

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7. In a big bowl add your cooked pasta.

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I got this one at Kohls, on sale for $25! I love that store!

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8. Now you may add your skillet full of veggies and meat and sauce. Toss well until every last piece of pasta is coated with sauce. It’s the only way to do things.

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This would have been especially good served with fresh Asiago cheese, but alas, there isn’t a store within a couple hundred miles of me that believes we should have any kind of fancy cheese other than Parmesan in a container from Kraft Foods. Depressing, I know.

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I am so hungry now!

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