Growing up in an Italian household, there were some staples; spaghetti with meatballs (my family calls it gravy...the stuff you put on turkey is brown gravy), chicken or eggplant Parmesan and of course, sausage and peppers. My dad would always put in both the Sweet Italian and the Hot Italian sausage and let it cook down for hours. When dinner came around, we would eat it in a bowl, on top of rice. I realize that the rice thing throws some of you off. I grew up eating rice with a fair amount of things that The Husband doesn't agree with, lentils with rice, chili with rice, ect, but I love it.
But I digress. As we're working on cooking from home more, I decided that on a cold snowy Sunday, I was going to make some comfort foods. So two pounds of sausage, 6 peppers, and a bunch of tomato sauce later, I was able to bring some of my childhood into our kitchen. This recipe is really easy, more than anything it just takes time. You can even do it in your slow cooker! But since I was home, I figured I'd make it in my stock pot. We had leftovers for 3 days, which was lovely because The Husband is back working in the ER and so he could have something substantial to eat before his shifts. You could also freeze it, but that would mean you have room in your freezer....which I don't.
Again, like all cooking, it's the ingredients that matter. I step up and go to the butcher counter to get the house-made sausage and I also get either Contadina or Tuttorosso
1Lb Sweet Italian Sausage
1Lb Hot Italian Sausage
3 Large cans of Contadina or Tuttorosso Crushed Tomato
1 Large yellow onion, diced
5-7 Large red peppers, cut into 1 inch long strips
3 Garlic cloves, minced
3 TBS Garlic Powder
3 TBS Italian Seasoning
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS olive oil
Cooked rice (if you want it!)
In a stock pot, add onions, peppers and minced garlic with olive oil, put over low heat with the lid on and let soften. This should take some time, since there will be a fair amount of stuff in the pot. Make sure you stir every few minutes.
In a fry pan, add the sausages and cook 3/4 of the way. This should take around 15 minutes or so.
In the time it takes for your sausages to cook, your onion, pepper and garlic mixture should soften. Add the Italian seasoning and stir. Add the crushed tomatoes and the sugar and stir until thoroughly mixed. The sugar will reduce the acidity in the tomatoes and add a hint of sweetness.
Once the sausages are cooked, add them into the pot as well, along with some of the grease (I will leave that to your discretion, I generally put in around a TBS of it). I promise, it sounds gross, but it really adds a good flavor.
Add the garlic powder and then cover the pot. Make sure it's on a low heat and let it cook for two hours. Check on it every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure that the bottom of the pot isn't burning. The sauce should go from a bright red, to a much deeper, darker color and should taste very rich. The peppers should be soft, you shouldn't be able to see the onions at all and the sausages should be cooked all the way through.
Now, I put some rice in a bowl, take a ladle and spoon the sauce on it and enjoy but you can grab some bread or something like that. Carbs are rather delicious with this dish, I'm just saying :)