Salsicce Peperonata dell’Aquila

Salsicce peperonata is simply grilled sausage, onion, and peppers.  It’s a common dish around here, especially for a hungry group like the Monday Night Gamers, or in smaller doses, an easy dish to make for two. It’s usually served with some pasta on the side or nice rolls to make a sandwich with.

For this particular meal, I wanted to add potatoes instead of the pasta.  I asked my Italian friend Riccardo if there is a particular region or city that’s known for potatoes, and he immediately said Aquila, which is how I named the dish.

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 6 big appetites, with some leftovers)

4 pounds hot Italian sausage, grilled and sliced

3 large yellow onions, sliced

6 red bell peppers, sliced

3 pounds potatoes, sliced skin-on

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

You’ll need a relatively large pot to put all this together in.  I ended up using our 9 quart Dutch Oven, but after the fact, I realized that I could have used the griddle plate that we have for the outdoor grill, which is what I’ll use next time.

I spent most of the time, although not as much as I had expected, on the prep.  I gave myself an hour and a half, and only needed about 45 minutes.  I heated the grill to about 400, put on the sausages, and turned them once about 4 minutes later.  I reduced the heat all the way and let them cook slowly.

Meanwhile, I sliced the vegetables.  Using a knife, I cut the peppers into rings and then cut the rings in half.  I simply sliced the onions (although one of them was large enough in the center that I cut the middle few sliced in half as well).  For the potatoes, I turned to the mandolin.  I put it on the thickest setting, which is probably somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.  Using the mandolin made much quicker work of it than using the knife.  Since I was done far earlier than I had expected, I put the potatoes in a bowl of cold water so that they wouldn’t brown.

Once the sausages were done, I sliced them into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.  When it was time to assemble everything, I started with about a tablespoon of olive oil and the onions, sweating them just slightly, before adding the potatoes and another tablespoon or so of olive.  The potatoes took a little longer to get done than I had wanted (maybe 15 minutes in all).  I wanted them done but still with some firmness to them.  As the potatoes were finishing, I added the peppers.  Once they had gotten soft, I pulled aside a portion for The Rocket Scientist (who doesn’t eat pork), then added the sausages and continued sautéing until everything was hot.

Had I been smart enough to use the griddle, I would have simply tossed everything on together (minus sausages) and let it all cook up.  As it was, I was working with space limitations, so I had to have a plan.

It wasn’t my intention to serve this as sandwiches (if I had, I would have left the sausages whole and maybe shreddeded the potatoes), but we picked up some nice rolls at the last minute anyway.  Everyone in the end decided to go for at least a small piece of sandwich, to which we added hot English mustard.

The side dish was the previously-mentioned Spicy Sweet Coleslaw, and the wine 2008 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County.

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About sheldonmenery

Sheldon Menery is a self-taught food and wine aficionado who has circled the globe in search of the riches it has to offer. He's dined and drank at some of the best (and worst) places in the world. He's the former partner and Wine Director at The Butcher Block Gourmet Market and Wine Shop in Tampa, Florida. He's the second-best cook in his house, his wife Gretchyn (who is quite really a rocket scientist) easily taking top honors.
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