Sausage and Peppers

Italian-Americans celebrate their patron saint with a neighborhood street festival each year. Festa San Gennaro in NYC’s Little Italy may be the biggest. My Rhode Island friends call these fairs Our Lady of Sausage and Peppers because the streets are lined with stalls grilling sausage and peppers for sandwiches on an Italian roll. I always have to eat at least one.

Here’s an easy one-pan recipe for this Italian-American classic. It’s a really flavorful dish you can make in less than an hour for a quick dinner or for sandwiches. The trick to this recipe is cooking the ingredients in stages and then putting them all together in the pan at the end.

I used hot Calabrian and mild or “sweet” Sicilian sausages from North Beach’s Little City Meats (Stockton and Vallejo) with Mezzetta Sweet Cherry Peppers preserved in vinegar.  G.L. Mezzetta Inc. started in the 30s as a small North Beach mom-and-pop store. Now located in the North Bay and run by the fourth-generation of the Mezzetta family their products are available nationwide.  If I don’t have vinegar peppers I made myself I always use Mezzetta.

Serve the sausage and peppers on a plate for lunch or dinner with some crusty bread or make sandwiches on an Italian roll. Either way it’s a mouthful of flavor with each bite.

Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage, about one good-sized link for each person
  • 4 cherry peppers packed in vinegar
  • 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a pot covered with water and set over a high flame.
  2. When the water reaches a boil let the potatoes cook for one minute more.
  3. Take the potatoes out of the water and set aside to cool.
  4. Cut each sausage into 3 pieces.
  5. Cut the cherry peppers in half and remove the seeds and stem. Cut the halves in half again. (If I was only using a mild sausage I would use hot cherry peppers.)
  6. Cut the potatoes into one-half inch pieces.
  7. Cut the bottom and top off the bell pepper.
  8. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and cut out the white ribs.
  9. Cut each half in 2 inch strips and then cut each strip in 2 inch pieces.
  10. Cut the bottom and top off the onion and peel.
  11. Cut the onion in half.
  12. Cut each half into one half inch strips.
  13. Mince the garlic.
  14. Heat the EVOO in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat.
  15. When the oil begins to ripple add the sausage and saute.
  16. As the sausage begins to take on some color add the cherry peppers and continue cooking until the sausage is golden brown all over.
  17. Remove the sausage and cherry peppers.
  18. Saute the potatoes until golden on both sides.
  19. Remove to a plate with paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
  20. (If there is too much oil in the saute pan, pour some off. If there is not enough add a bit more EVOO.)
  21. Saute the onion and bell pepper until they soften and pick up some golden-brown color.
  22. Add the garlic mix well with the onion and bell pepper and saute just until the garlic begins to give off its aroma, about a minute. Do not let the garlic get to brown or it will turn bitter.
  23. Put the sausage, cherry peppers and potatoes back in the pan and mix everything well. You just want to heat the sausage and potatoes.
  24. Serve immediately on a platter or make sandwiches stuffed with the sausage, peppers and potatoes.
  25. Serves 4.