Italian Sausage & Peppers

The ubiquitous sausage and peppers sandwich prevails at just about every Italian festival I’ve ever attended, including this past weekend’s Sicilian Festival in San Diego. It’s the quintessential street food with it’s rustic simplicity and rich and lusty flavors. The pairing of great tasting Italian sausage with the caramel sweetness of onions and peppers is a combination made in heaven. During the 1500’s with very little fresh meat available and the lack of refrigeration, sausage-making was a way to make the most from every bit of meat that came your way. Sausage peddlers in Italian towns were a familiar sight.  There was  variety of fresh, dried and salted sausages. It was during the Middle Ages that sausage-making really took off, so what began out of necessity turned into culinary comfort food for Italians and non-Italians across the globe. I have taken the liberty to dress this classic up a bit. I wanted to serve a simple street type food at a dinner party but found an alternative to the sandwich. The flavors are all here … just rearranged.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, coarsely chopped (plus 5 for stuffing)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, coarsely chopped
  • Marinara sauce (optional)
  • Crusty-chewy chunks of Italian bread (never optional)
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the onions, green pepper and sausage. Cook until onions and peppers are tender and sausage has cooked.
  2. Cut the tops off the remaining peppers, remove white ribbing and rinse inside and out.
  3. Rub a little olive oil inside each pepper, season with salt.
  4. Fill the cavities of each pepper with the sausage and onion mixture, replace tops.
  5. Place peppers in an oven proof dish, bake at 375* for 50-60 minutes. Peppers should be blistered on top.
  6. To serve, plate peppers with the bread, a bit of sauce and a sprig or two of fresh parsley.

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