I set the timer for 20 minutes and got to work.
- Set the water on to boil.
- Started 3/4-lb. of bulk hot Italian sausage browning in a saucepan. This has to be good sausage, folks. Lots of the flavor that will eventually be in the sauce starts here. My local grocery chain does their own sausage, which is invariably high-quality and delicious.
- Chopped one small onion and one medium green bell pepper, and added them to the sausage when it was mostly browned.
- Stir, stir, cook, wait for the water to boil.
- At 11 minutes left, the water was boiling, so I added half a pound of rotini, which needed to cook for 7 minutes. A little early, perhaps, but I wanted to be sure I'd have time to assemble.
- Back to the sauce--time to add a 15-oz can of tomato sauce. Not jarred spaghetti sauce, thank you, but the plain stuff that lives next to the other canned tomatoes. Remember that I said it should be good sausage?
- I'm not above nudging my sauce with herbs, though. In went a little basil, oregano, and mint. Yes, mint. Don't look at me like that, it really adds something, and it won't taste like toothpaste, I promise.
- While the pasta was cooking and the sauce was simmering, I realized I had a good three minutes with nothing to do, and remembered a wedge of Asiago in the fridge, which promptly became friends with my micrograter.
- Drained the pasta, tossed with the sauce, and boom! Done at 18 minutes.