Writing a food blog allows me to indulge in two of my passions-cooking and eating good food. I especially love when those include new recipes. Last night was one of those nights for new recipes, new to me in any case. As I posted yesterday, we had Italian sausage stuffed peppers at the Italian American festival and they were delicious. We decided they would not be too difficult to make. I have also been longing to make some bruschetta al pomodoro. I did some research for both recipes and found the basic instructions for both dishes. In the end, I tailored those into recipes I could make with the ingredients I had on hand.
Italian sausage stuffed banana peppers
Warning-picture heavy tutorial ahead.
7 medium to large-sized banana peppers
1 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage
2 cloves of garlic-crushed
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
few sprigs of fresh oregano-strip leaves from the stem and leave whole
Set oven to 350 degrees. Start a pot of water to boil, large enough to hold the peppers. Cut the tops off of the peppers.
Clean the seeds and membranes out of the peppers. A spoon or paring knife will work.
When the water is boiling, par-boil the peppers for 5 minutes. Cool in a colander or run under some cool water until you can handle them. (Someone forgot to wear her apron and is already getting messy.)
Like the sneak peek at the yellow walls?
In a medium bowl mix the can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup of the cheese, a pinch of pepper flakes, crushed garlic, and the oregano leaves. Mix and spread in the bottom of a baking dish.
To the sausage add 1/4 cup of the cheese and one clove of garlic and a pinch of the red pepper flakes. Mix gently but thoroughly. Stuff peppers with sausage mixture.
I found it easier to roll the sausage meat to a tapered shape to fit into the pepper. Don’t shove it in or you’ll split the pepper which I did to one of them. Add stuffed peppers and any remaining sausage to the dish. Cover and cook for about 45-60 minutes until the sausage is cooked and the peppers are soft.
Here is the dish before it went into the oven.
I don’t have an “after” picture or the meal on a plate. I had invited my neighbor over to taste test and got busy talking about the painting and the recipe. I served these with whole wheat cappelini. This was after we had our antipasti dish of tomato bruschetta.
Before I get to the recipe I want to inform my readers of the correct pronunciation of bruschetta. It’s not “brew-shet-tah” but “brew-sket-tah”. I learned this from Michelle at Bleeding Espresso a few years ago and she should know. She lives in Italy! My neighbor was quite surprised to find out that is how it’s said. And she said she will be informing all her friends and family because she makes bruschetta often to take to parties.
Bruschetta al pomodoro or Tomato bruschetta
3 ripe stem tomatoes or 5 ripe plum tomatoes-diced
2 cloves of garlic-crushed
5 fresh basil leaves torn
a few sprigs of oregano chopped
salt and pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 loaf of French bread or any bread of choice, cut into 1 inch slices
Mix diced tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Use enough olive oil to cover the mixture. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes or so. Slice bread on the diagonal and set on a baking sheet. Set oven to broil and toast both sides of the bread. Remove and grate some fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese on the slices. Add a spoonful or two of the tomatoes and enjoy. Serves about 10-12 if you use the whole loaf.
We only used half and shared some with our neighbor. She declined to eat the peppers because she just had her dinner but she did have some bruschetta. I sent her home with a lunch for today of a stuffed pepper, sauce and pasta. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of how it tasted. I liked it but didn’t love it. My husband loved it but said next time we need to cook the peppers longer. We also didn’t care for how the tomato sauce from the peppers and pasta went together. It was missing something. Next time we will just steam the peppers and have an aglio and olio pasta as a side which is pasta with garlic and olive oil. Super simple.