This dish has humble roots. It started out as an attempt to replicate a childhood memory. I had a friend growing up named Paolo. His mother used to make sausage and peppers. But I'd had sausage and peppers before. I live in a city and there is no shortage of Italian restaurants, run by actual Italian people...from Italy! (My reigning favorite is my local place called...Italiano's)
Anyhoo...her sausage and peppers were different. They were a bit kickier first of all and they sort of read like a Cajun dish as opposed to an Italian one. At any rate, the above doesn't taste exactly like Paolo's mama's dish, but it's a respectable facsimile.
Nik's Sausage Extravaganza!
1 log pork Italian sausage (I used hot, use what you like)
2 logs turkey Italian sausage (I also used hot)
2 logs turkey smoked sausage, cut into rounds
1 large onion, sliced into slivers
1 large green pepper, sliced into strips
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can tomatoes & chiles (I used hot, agin, use your discretion)
3 cups water
Optional: red pepper flakes
Remove the casings from the Italian sausages. For newer post-ops, you might want to brown this like ground beef (and while you're at it, dice the smoked sausage instead of slicing it into rounds). For those further out, I cut into slices and cooked them that way. Any way you slice it, you need to get it in the pan and cooked.
Once a decent amount of fat has rendered from them, add the turkey smoked sausage discs and cook until browned. Then remove both and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate (don't worry if the Italian sausage isn't quite done yet).
Throw your onions and peppers into the pan and then cook until really, really, REALLY caramelized. Like the onions should start blackening a little. Add garlic and cook about two more minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and stir it thoroughly into the onions and peppers. Add tomatoes and chiles, red pepper flakes if using (and all the liquid from the can) into the pan and then add enough water to cover the veggies.
Add the meat back in and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow it to simmer about 10 minutes and then turn off.
Sauce will thicken upon standing. Here's the finished pan:
I'm convinced that child could even be convinced to eat Brussels sprouts if I sandwiched it between two pieces of french bread. Her only critique was (and after you read this, please go review the ingredients I listed), "it wasn't spicy enough."
Yeah. Everyone's a critic, right?