My introduction to Italian sausage, peppers, and onions was at the San Gennaro street festival in New York City during a high school field trip. Each stall claimed to have the best sausage, the freshest peppers, and the sweetest onion all piled onto huge barges of bakery bread. I was in food heaven.
These days, my mom makes a more sedate version of this famed sandwich as a pasta dish. It is a delicious one pot dinner and is perfect on a night that you don’t want to spend to long making dinner and want something impressive.
It all starts with good Italian sausage – you can use either hot or sweet Italian sausage. I personally use sweet sausage and then add heat to the sauce, but you can do whatever makes your heart sing!
To make meatballs out of the sausage, cut the sausage down the middle, remove the casing, and cut them into 2-3-inch pieces.
Then roll each piece into a meatball.
Throw the meatballs into a deep-sided skillet with a tiny bit of canola oil.
Stir the meatballs around so that they all get brown.
When they are browned (CAUTION – they aren’t cooked through!), pull them out of the skillet and place them to drain on paper towelling. Then drain off the grease and put the skillet back on the heat with a little bit of olive oil.
Then slice up some red bell pepper and onion.
And throw them into the skillet.
Add some salt, pepper, oregano, and hot pepper flake and cook them until they soft and golden.
When the veggies are all cooked, the meatballs get placed into the skillet too.
And then pour into some wine. Stop and savor the amazing smells coming from your kitchen (and maybe pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it?).
This simple wine broth is a good sauce for this dish, but I like to crack open a jar of marinara sauce and add it to the skillet. The tomato sauce is reminiscent of the traditional sausage, pepper and onion sandwich.
Toss in the pasta (and a little mozzarella cheese if you desire… which I did) and stir… and take a steamy, blurry picture that you have no shame putting on your food blog.
Then serve to your family and friends!
It is a less messy version of the traditional sandwich, but just as delicious!
Italian Sausage Meatballs, Peppers, and Onions
1 teaspoon of canola oil
8 Italian sausages, hot or sweet
2 teaspoons of olive oil
3 medium-large red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
¼ teaspoon of red pepper flake
½ cup of dry white wine
½ a regular jar of good marinara sauce
1 pound of pasta, cooked to the package directions.
- Heat a high-sided skillet over medium heat with the canola oil. Split the casings of the Italian sausage and remove completely. Cut the sausages into 2-3-inch pieces and roll each piece into a meatball.
- Brown the meatballs in the skillet, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the browned meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels and drain off the excess grease from the skillet. Return skillet to the heat.
- Add the olive oil to the skillet, along with the peppers and onion. Cook the vegetables until the begin to soften and turn golden brown. Add the meatballs, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flake, and cook until the garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in the wine and cook until the wine reduces slightly. Add in the marinara sauce, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to simmer. Place a lid on the skillet and let the sauce and meatballs simmer for 20 minutes to ensure the sausage meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve the meatballs and sauce over pasta, sprinkled with cheese if your heart desires.