Oktoberfest, despite its name, mostly occurs during September. This year it kicked off on Saturday, September 17th, and will wind down on Monday, October 3rd. To celebrate, let’s deconstruct the German flag and eat it!
Since I am too inept to be able to embed text images, the German flag consists of three horizontal bars, from top to bottom black-red-gold. This is not to be confused with the flag of Belgium, which is three vertical bars, from left to right black-gold-red.
You won’t find this dish at Oktoberfest or maybe indeed anywhere, because I made it up. They serve plenty of sausages at Oktoberfest, but they come with a little Senf, which is German mustard, or perhaps in a roll (with Senf.)
This feeds two (of us) plus a little Blutwurst for The Faithful Hound.
1 lb. Blutwurst/black sausage/sausage if you can’t find blood sausage but that ruins the effect slightly
Marinade for the sausages, if you want (I recommend this even if your Blutwurst is spiced in some way, because the sausages are going to deliver the flavor for the whole dish.)
2 or 3 red bell peppers
1 lb. dried Spätzle. Spätzle are tiny strips of pasta. You probably won’t be able to find this. If your supermarket has a wide selection of pasta (or if you have an Italian specialty market) you can use cellentani or the slightly more commonly available cavatappi. If all else fails, use either small fusilli noodles or elbow macaroni (the smallest you can find) and not prepared in anyway, just plain dry elbow macaroni.
Slice the (marinated) Blutwurst into disks about 1/2—1-inch wide. Julienne (cut into strips) the shells of the red peppers, discarding the seeds, pulp, and core.
Put the peppers in a frying pan over medium heat. They’ll release enough juices that you won’t need to add oil or anything. If they don’t, add a tablespoon-ful of water at a time. You don’t want to make a pepper soup. Add the Blutwurst. If your Blutwurst isn’t ready to eat, make sure you cook it long enough so that it hits an internal temp of 165° F. This should take about five minutes, maybe a little more depending on your stove and the amount of liquid your peppers have produced. You can’t really overcook sausage until you get to the point of burning it. If the casing starts to turn black you should be done. Don’t let things go that far. If your Blutwurst is pre-cooked so much the better; you just have to warm it up.
Take the frying pan off the heat once you think the sausages are done and the peppers have lost all their crispness. Now prepare your pasta as directed. You want the noodles to be softer than al dente but not completely limp and waterlogged.
Drain the pasta as well as you can, because you don’t need unflavored pasta water. Make a pasta layer on the plates. Then, with a slotted spoon, apportion the sausage and peppers on top. With a spatula scrape any bits of random sausage and peppers that might be clinging to the sides and bottom of the pan and stir it around. Pour a little of this over the sausages and peppers, and hopefully enough will seep through to coat the pasta.
If your meal is unsatisfyingly bland, grate a good portion of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese over it. If you use cheese it will color the pasta yellow, which makes your plate look even more like a deconstructed flag of the Bundesrepublik. Wash this down with, what else, beer. If you’re feeling Rhenish (of the Rhine area) you can accompany this with white wine. For a non-alcoholic drink, I think a German would be most likely to drink sparkling water with this, not still and certainly not tap water, even though Germany probably has some of the cleanest tap water on earth, because their standards are so high and their testing is so vigorous.