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sausage and peppers

Italian Sausage and Peppers – A Tradition

The Summer Tradition of Italian Sausage and Peppers

Italian Sausage and Peppers is a tradional meal that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. It is a great addition to any BBQ or summer holiday meal.

Under normal circumstances kids and adults look forward to the summer season. We love to celebrate Fourth of July with fireworks and a barbecue. In 2020, we practice social distancing and you ar lucky to be invited to any barbecues. Usually the summer is a time for outdoor fun whether it’s a backyard cookout, a trip to the beach, a vacation, or visits to a couple of street festivals like the Italian feasts with their loads of games, rides, and delicious foods to eat. All we can do is make the best out of this summer with our close family and friends. This Italian Sausage and peppers recipe is a traditional meal that brings us together to create good memories even in difficult times.

Food and Memories

Food and memories go together. We create wonderful memories while breaking bread with our family and friends. A fond memory of summer that I have, is that of my father firing up the charcoal grill for the usual hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade salads prepared by mother and grandmother. One salad that grandma made was her delicious Tuna Salad. I am sure these are staples at your barbecues as well. 

Nowadays though, a turkey or veggie burger may be on the menu.  Did I mention that there was more food to come?  Italians always include specialty foods to any event they host.  I recall hearing a funny story about my great-grandparents and a Sunday family trip to Sherwood Island for a Fourth of July barbecue.  Let me just say that a large pot of water was put on the grill to boil pasta!  My great-grandparents, on my father’s side, had to have their pasta on a Sunday.  A tradition they wouldn’t give up from back in the old country—Sicily.  They had their pasta and sauce for their mid-afternoon meal on Sunday regardless of where they were at.

You Have to Have Pasta!

My grandparents and parents weren’t so rigid about what they ate at a Sunday barbecue or picnic.  They kept with the usual barbecue foods but added a touch of Italian cuisine to the menu.  Italian Sausage and Peppers, which is a family favorite, was always on our menu.  They would make it in the kitchen and bring it out to the backyard. When my grandparents passed away, my father took over the role of making the traditional Italian Sausage and Peppers. Family barbecues were a big deal to him.  My father would plan the menu weeks in advance. Sausage and Peppers was first on the list followed by eggplant parmigiana, shrimp cocktail, raw clams on the half shell, and on and on.  And yes, there were hamburgers and hot dogs, too. 

Many of you may have made this dish yourselves or have tried it at Italian street feasts like San Gennaro in Manhattan, but there is nothing like home cooked Sausage and Peppers.   Try making my father’s version of this recipe for one of your gatherings this summer.  I am sure you’ll make this recipe more than once.  Enjoy this meal on a seeded roll or with a side salad… or both! Don’t forget also try out Grandma’s Tuna Salad and Italian Peppers and Eggs!

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sausage and peppers

Ingredients

3 lbs. of hot or sweet pork sausage with or without fennel. Use 3 lbs. of chicken sausage for a lighter version.*
4 TBSPs oil (olive oil or a preferred oil)
3 green bell peppers
3 red bell peppers
2 large onions
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBSP. dried Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Meatless Option

For a meatless option, add Cannellini beans (white beans) or any preferred beans in place of the pork or chicken sausage.

Instructions

1
Prep: Wash, seed, and slice peppers into circular slices. Set aside.
2
Peel and slice onions into circular slices. Set aside.
3
Wash sausage. You can leave sausage links whole or slice each link into 3 or 4 pieces depending on how large or small you prefer. Dry sausage with a paper towel.
4
Using a large skillet with a cover, add 2 TBSPs of oil and move pan around to coat the bottom of the pan.
5
Heat pan on a medium – high flame. Once pan is hot, add your sausage using the lid cover to shield you from any oil that may splash once the sausage is added. Toss the sausage in the pan to coat with oil.
6
Cover the pan and cook sausage until browned.
7
Remove sausage and place on a paper towel lined dish to drain any excess fat and oil. Cover sausage and set aside.
8
Wipe out your skillet to remove any oil and residue for sautéing the sausage.
9
Add the remaining 2 TBSPs of oil and heat. Once pan is hot, add the sliced peppers and onions using the cover to shield you from any oil splashing on you.
10
Toss peppers and onions in the pan and cover. Cook until tender.
11
Once the peppers and onions are cooked, add the sausage.
12
Sprinkle the dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix the sausage, peppers, onions, and seasonings.
13
Cover and simmer on a medium to low flame for 20 – 30 minutes. Enjoy!
14
For a meatless dish, drain and rinse beans and add to the cooked peppers and onions. Let simmer for 15 minutes for the beans to flavor with the peppers, onions, and spices.
*If you cannot purchase chicken sausage from the neighborhood butcher shop, you can buy your sausage from the supermarket. Premio is a good brand to use. They offer both pork sausage and chicken sausage.
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