Hunter’s Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

This is every bit as good as the classic Italian sausage and pepper sauces I enjoyed in grinder sandwiches at carnivals during my teens. At Claire’s we serve this richly flavored sauce over pasta to grateful customers, who are happy to have a cholesterol-free, absolutely delicious “sausage.” We use Tofurky® or LightLife® Italian meatless sausage links. You can find them in the frozen food section of most health food stores.


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen tofu sausage, each link cut into 4 pieces while partly frozen
  • 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers (1 each yellow, red, and green), seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 pound rigatoni or other pasta


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown all sides evenly. Set aside. In a heavy pot, heat the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the peppers, onion, mushrooms, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cover, raise the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the peppers are softened. Add the tomatoes, bring to a low boil, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste the seasoning. Keep the sauce warm.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and turn into a serving bowl. Spoon one-fourth of the sauce over the top and toss to coat the pasta. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Grind additional black pepper over the top, if desired.