August 11, 2012

Sausage and Peppers


In my family, sausages and peppers, often eaten on a hard roll also known as a grinders were made for special occasions especially at the end of the summer when the garden was producing a surplus of peppers.  Anytime there was a family gathering, picnics, or celebration, someone would make up  a big pot of sausage and peppers. It can easily feed a crowd of robust eaters! My father would put a pot on and let the sausages and peppers simmer all day filling the house with the mouthwatering scent.  The country fair was a much anticipated event every August not only for the country displays of cows and handcrafts but mostly for the food tents.  The first tent my father would visit was the Grinder Tent where we would share a grinder.  I enjoyed standing and eating my grinder with my Dad watching the people flow past, hearing the sounds of the barnyard animals, the dull roar of the tractor pull, and the sputtering noise of the old machine display. 

During a summer visit my sister made a delicious pot of sausage and peppers for a birthday celebration. She cooked hers all day on the stove in her heavy cast iron Le Creuset pan. This brought to my mind that I could incorporate sausage and peppers into my own weekly menus but I needed something that was equally as tasty as the all day cook but could made within an hour or two. This recipe does the trick. Add more liquid as desired if you like a thin or thick sauce with your sausage and peppers.

I sometimes make homemade grinder rolls warm from the oven and I have served it on garlic toast which was equally as good and very crunchy.

Italian Sausage and Peppers
6 - 8 links of sweet and spicy Italian sausages
1/4 cup olive oil
8 - 10 cloves of garlic, sliced into slivers, not minced or pressed
1  large red or yellow onions, cut in half and then sliced
3-4 sweet peppers cored, seeded, and sliced into 1/2" wide strips (multicolored or not)
1 serrano chile (optional)
1/2 jalepeno (optional)
1  8 - 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomatoes of your choice, 3 or 4 Romas would work
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 to 1/2 cup Marsala or red wine 
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.
Poke the sausages with a fork.  
In a large heavy saute pan pour in the olive oil, heat on medium heat.
Place the sausages in and cook until brown.
Add the garlic to the sausages and cook until lightly browned.
Place the sausages and garlic onto a plate and set aside keeping oil in saute pan.
Add onions and peppers to the pan and saute for around 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.
Add the peppers and onions to a 13 x 9" baking dish.
Add the crushed tomatoes, wine, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes blending well in the baking dish.
Add the sausages and garlic to the baking dish.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in the 400 degree oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

IMG_1611 My sister's sausage and peppers - just how I remember them growing up.
adapted from lydia bastiani, giada dilaurentis and labellavita

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