Put yourself in a New York state of mind with some sausage and peppers. We take this East Coast stalwart off the bun and turn it into a killer pasta dish. Fennel seed-flecked Italian sausage gets pan-seared and tossed with tender bell peppers and al dente tubes of rigatoni. A zesty marinara marries the whole thing together for a meal that's simple to prepare but hard to forget. Fuhgeddaboudit.
Stem, seed, and slice both green and red bell peppers into thin ¼" strips. Peel and halve onion. Slice halves thinly. Mince garlic.
Remove sausage from casing.
Cook the Sausage
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage links and cook until browned on two sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove sausages from pan, let cool 5 minutes, and, on a separate cutting board, slice into ½" pieces on an angle. Sausages will finish cooking in a later step. Wipe pan clean and reserve. While sausages cook, cook pasta.
Cook the Pasta
Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, 11-13 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in colander. Return pasta to pot and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside. While pasta boils, cook vegetables.
Cook the Vegetables
Return pan used to cook sausages to medium-high heat and add 1 tsp. olive oil. Add peppers, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (to taste) to hot pan. Reduce heat to medium, stir, and cover. Cook until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.
Finish the Sauce
Add sausage pieces, marinara, and reserved pasta cooking water to pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes. Stir in spinach, pasta, half the Parmesan (reserve remaining for garnish). Cook until spinach wilts slightly and sausages reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, 1-2 minutes.
Place pasta on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Garnish with Parmesan.