Sausage and Peppers with Onions is one of THE most identifiable dishes from the Italian and Italian-American cuisines. Yes, It’s a bonafide Italian dish that is a common combination in and around Naples and other areas of the south. The sweet fennel sausage is the base of this dish and the better quality of the sausage, the better this dish will taste. One can only get the foods that are available in one’s area so hear me out….Most fresh made Sausage comes from Italian Pork Store and is made daily. Supermarkets sometimes have an in-house meat department that makes its’ own daily. Then there are factory made Italian Sausage, generally sold in family packs or in bulk made locally or nationally. These are usually sold fresh but sometimes they will be sold frozen. The typical profile of a Southern Italian Sweet Pork Sausage is quite simple. There’s salt, lots of cracked black pepper, fennel seeds and a blend of fatty and lean pork. When the mix is too lean, your sausage cooks up somewhat dry. Proper fat content provides moisure and flavor to the cooked product. All too often the grind of a factory made Italian sausage borders on the consistency of a hot dog…really? no Thanks. The texture of the sausage is as important as everything else. Ground too fine it loses it’s identity as an Italian sausage. Suffice to say I’m a little fussy, but we are talking about Italian Sausage not Vienna Sausages. But there is something called availability. Simply put, try to find the best of this list in your area and try to stay away from the bottom of the choices, it will just not be the same.
The typical Peppers and Onions pairing with grilled,roasted,or fried sausages is a saute’ of Italian Frying Peppers or Bell Peppers with onions,sometimes additional ingredients. For this blog post let use a different type of pepper, the readily available RED ROASTED PEPPER. Like that? GOOD! Just a little recipe here for a Roasted Peppers and Onions for your Sausages.
SERVES: 4 people TIME: 40 minutes
2 LBS SWEET ITALIAN PORK SAUSAGE WITH FENNEL
3 DRAINED ROASTED RED PEPPERS, SLICED INTO 1/2 INCH STRIPS
1 LARGE ONION, SLICED
2 CLOVES GARLIC, SLICED
1/2 TSP OREGANO
3 BASIL LEAVES
2 TBS OLIVE OIL
KOSHER SALT, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
1/2 TSP CRUSHED FENNEL SEEDS
1 TSP BRANDY or SHERRY
1/8 cup BRANDY OR SHERRY
1/8 cup water
In a large heavy pan heat 1/2 tsp Olive Oil..then add the Sausage,and let them brown on one side, about 5 minutes each side. That should give nice color to both sides. Now add the brandy and deglaze the pan, then add the water. Swirl it around and gentle cook this until all the water is evaporated and the sausage gets a little more browned when the water is gone. This process takes about 5-6 minutes. Remove the sausage and add 1 tbs. of olive oil. Then add the onions. Move them around so they pick up all the flavor and browned bits from the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes then add 1/8 cup Brandy or sherry and continue to cook until the onions become translucent and soft. 10 minutes at least. Then add the oregano and the garlic..continue to saute’ for another 3 minutes then add the roasted peppers. Gently cook this for 5 minutes then add the sausage back in and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the flame. Add the basil…Serve on a plate or in Sandwiches (Hero rolls or Italian bread…NOT soft bread…get the crusty stuff)
Drizzle the finished product with the remaining olive oil. I can’t get enough sausage, blame my Southern Italian DNA pool for that!