When I walk into an Italian restaurant, I want to smell garlic! If I don’t (unless it says it specializes in “Continental” foods), I wonder if I’m in the right place. And, unless I’m in the mood for pizza, if it’s ad says pizza first, I pass it right on by!
Needless to say, I’m a big fan of southern Italian – Sicilian cooking, reeking of garlic (hey, it keeps the vampires away!) and with crisp-tender vegetables and a hearty red sauce. Sausage and peppers is a family meal in Italy — not a fancy one. I order it out AND I make it at home ‘cuz it’s one of my faves.
Sausage & Peppers
- 16 large sweet or hot Italian sausages (I prefer the hot ones; better flavor)
- 4 each: red, yellow and green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2″ strips
- 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground black (or multi-colored) pepper
- 3 large yellow or brown onions, sliced 1/2″ thick
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Parmesan cheese, optional
Poke each sausage several times with a fork. Heat skillet until hot (oil is hot but not smoking); add sausages and cook until brown, turning as necessary. Watch for spattering. (Or, you can preheat broiler or charcoal grill until hot; then broil or grill sausages, turning as necessary until well browned on all sides about 8 minutes). You can do sausages whole, in large chunks or slices, as you prefer. *
Remove sausages to a bowl, cover to keep warm and set aside. Pour off fat and discard. Do not wipe out skillet. Add the 6 Tbsp. olive oil and heat gently; add the mixed peppers, garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Stir fry until vegetables are crisp tender and have picked up the crusty brown bits of sausage drippings. Add sausage back to the skillet and stir so everything is well mixed and hot. Serves 4-6
Best with short pasta such as ziti, rigatoni, penne, etc. and your favorite red sauce on the pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
*Option: You can bake this dish if you prefer (I don’t, but some people do.)
If so, while the sausages are cooking, preheat the oven to 400. Combine peppers and oil in a 12″ x 8″ heavy roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Place in preheated oven and cook until peppers wilt, about 15 minutes. Add onions and garlic, toss again, and cook an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened. Add sausage to roaster and toss well so everything is combined and vegetables are tender but not mushy, 20-30 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning. Serve as above.