Italian Sausage and Peppers

IMG_20150809_195830920I love Italian sausage and peppers, which is one of the easiest things in the world to make. If you are fortunate enough to have a killer Italian market in your vicinity, it is less than a couple of hours to pure nostalgic heaven. Italian sausage and peppers, typically served over polenta or on a crusty Italian hard roll, are a delicious treat you will find at any respectable street fair in an area that boasts a decent Italian-American population.

The ingredients are few, so this is not a place to skimp or cut corners. One bad apple spoils the batch of apple butter, so buy the best ingredients you can afford. Many Italian families make their dish with Italian sausage, onions and sweet peppers only, but my family also threw in some crushed tomatoes as well, which I prefer.

Green peppers are also traditional in this recipe, but I find they lend a bitter edge to the finished dish. A mix of yellow, orange and red sweet bell peppers is lovely and colorful, and keeps the bitterness factor out of the rich sauce.


Italian Sausage and Peppers

1 tablespoon good extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage links (or a mix of sweet and hot if you prefer)
1 large yellow onion, sliced and the slices cut in half
1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 large orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
28 oz. crushed tomatoes (canned or boxed is fine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the Italian sausage links and brown on all sides until they are richly browned. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion and sweet peppers to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing frequently with a pair of tongs, until softened and translucent. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and combine well. Bring to a simmer, then add the Italian sausage and any juice back to the pan, nestling the sausage links in the sauce.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, turning the Italian sausage occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and the sauce becomes rich and thick, about 1 hour. Correct seasoning, if needed, and serve over polenta or on hard Italian crusty rolls.


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