Sausage and Peppers is definitely what I would call an Italian comfort food. And without a doubt, Italians have mastered the art of comfort food. We have much to thank them for: pasta, eggplant parmigiana, osso buco, and a myriad of other dishes.
Italian Cuisine: A Rich History
Italian cuisine also provides much inspiration to home chefs like myself (remember that time I made the caprese chicken? or the chicken marsala?) So when countless Italians began immigrating to different countries at the dawn of the twentieth century, they brought their own cuisine but adopted different techniques and ingredients to form their own unique dishes.
Such is the case with chicken parmigiana, spaghetti and meatballs, and other dishes. You won’t necessarily find them in authentic Italian restaurants or in homes in Rome or Tuscany, but you will find them in immigrant communities throughout the world.
Italian cuisine involves many different local adaptations as well. For example, some dishes in certain regions involve a high quantity of herbs and spices while others tend to keep it very simple.
Think of pizza. What do you put on your pizza? Onions? Pepperoni? Mushrooms? Meatballs? Well, in some parts of Italy, the only way to eat a pizza is margherita style — with mozzarella, basil, and tomato. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Simplicity at its best.
Sausage and Peppers
So that brings us to sausage and peppers. This is a classic Italian dish that exploded in popularity in America, thanks to Italian immigrants. Simple in form yet rich in taste, the sausage and peppers dish is unique in every home. It is considered a variety of Italian street food, being served at festivals and feasts, and at sporting events.
This dish doesn’t just have the Italian-style sausage and red and green bell peppers, though. It has onions, garlic, salt, pepper, tomato, and a touch of oregano.
You can serve it on its own or ladle it onto a bed of penne pasta. It also goes great on a sandwich! Make sure you get thick, crusty, rustic Italian-style bread for it, so that it can adequately soak up the beautiful sauce that you will inevitably make as a result of the peppers, onions, and tomato cooking down.
A note on the technique
So, I posted an image and recipe of the sausage and peppers that I made on to Imgur and much to the chagrin of the visitors to that photosharing website, I listed “boiling” as the first thing to do with the sausages. Well, that didn’t go over so well. My response? Too bad. Try it and then tell me what you think.
Here’s the logic behind boiling your sausages before you brown them: you want the juices to remain in the casing. Some sausage casings, especially if you don’t have the money to spend on a sausage of great quality, are easily prone to pop. And what happens? You end up with a dry, limp sausage. And you’re not going to achieve an ideal result. So try it my way and then tell me what you think.
So you’re going to boil the sausages, and then heat up a pan and then insert some olive oil. When the sausages finish cooking (in about five minutes), you’ll take them out, put them on to a cutting board, slice them into three or four pieces per link (I love to slice them diagonally), and them brown them in the oil so they get that flavour (that’s what the brown colour is, as you know!) all over them.
Then, you’ll add red bell pepper, green peppers, onions, a teaspoon of oregano, some chopped garlic (or garlic powder), and a 450g/16 oz tin of tomato. Then you’ll let it simmer for thirty minutes.
This takes less than an hour. Easy peasy.
- 4-5 Italian-style sausages
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 450g chopped tomato with water
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 salt
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Boil sausages for about five minutes.
- Heat a pan and throw in some olive oil.
- Remove the sausage and slice into medallions.
- Slice an onion, a red pepper, and green bell pepper.
- Brown the sausage, about five minutes.
- Insert onions and peppers along with a 450g/16oz tin of tomato.
- Let it simmer for 25 minutes.
- Add some garlic powder or chopped garlic, 1 tsp of oregano, and a pinch of salt.