Bow tie pasta is shaped like cute little bow ties or butterflies. It’s also called farfalle, which means “butterflies” in Italian. We like to use this shape particularly for this dish because it’s designed to grab and hold onto the sweet sausage and bell peppers, making every bite perfectly balanced. Other shapes that would also work well are corkscrew-shaped pastas like rotini or fusilli.
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 colorful bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 8-ounce block cream cheese
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.
Add the bell peppers to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute.
Return the sausage to the skillet and heat through. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl, add the pasta, Romano cheese and basil, and toss to coat well.