This simple, classic Italian comfort food recipe makes a perfect weeknight meal and is easily scaled up to feed a crowd. Inspired by my Calabrese father-in-law!
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Sausage and peppers is one of the first traditional Italian recipes that I was introduced to back when my husband and I first started dating. At the time, I was an incredibly picky eater, and I did not like sausage at all.
OK, there was one exception. True to my Midwestern roots, I could go to town on a plate of cheddar cheese, crackers, and summer sausage. YUM.
But as for any other type of sausage, I was not a fan.
My Italian in-laws always keep a well-stocked refrigerator (2 refrigerators, actually!). They are stocked with lots of food items that I didn’t grow up with (I’m looking at you, broccoli rabe), and there are always several types of sausage.
Living under their roof when I first moved to New York really got me excited about trying more new and different types of food – even some that were outside of my comfort zone back in 2004.
My father-in-law is a phenomenal cook. He’s originally from Calabria, Italy, and spent most of his childhood in Belgium before moving to New York in 1963. As a toolmaker, his work hours got him back home in the mid-afternoon, so he started cooking delicious dinners as a hobby.
In fact, we used to cook together almost every night after work while I lived there. It was an absolute blast, and we may or may not have enjoyed a hearty amount of wine during that process.
We improvised many meals together, and it really got me comfortable cooking for the family.
He cooks based on his mood and what’s hanging around in that incredibly well-stocked kitchen. He rarely uses a recipe, and you’ll never have a bad meal in his house. You’ll also never get the same exact meal twice.
But me? Improvise recipes every single time? Nope.
I want to be able to make the same thing more than once and be able to share the deliciousness with other people so they can enjoy it with their families as well. I do a lot more improvisation now than I used to, but I do like documenting successes and failures in the kitchen.
I’ve been making sure that I spend time cooking with him while measuring ingredients and taking copious notes so that recipes like this classic sausage & peppers can be made for years and years to come.
And I’ve made my version for him several times now, and it got an enthusiastic stamp of approval from him.
Look for Italian sausage in the grocery store in the refrigerated meat section, usually near the pork chops and roasts. You’ll typically see 2 types of Italian sausage – hot and sweet.
The sweet sausage generally contains fennel, which was initially the reason I wasn’t a fan of sausage, but it has since grown on me. I like using a mix of hot and sweet when I make this dish for my family. The hot is sometimes pretty spicy, and my son prefers the sweet.
A little something for everyone!
You can eat this dish as is, slice it up and put it on top of pasta, or get some nice crusty bread and turn it into sandwiches. Don’t forget to sop up the pan juices – they pack a ton of flavor!
This dish is super simple and a great way to enjoy a delicious Italian comfort food dinner in your own home.
Looking for more Italian-inspired favorites? Check out these 5-star recipes:
- Pork Scallopini with White Bean-Tomato Salad
- My Favorite Garlic Bread
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Garlicky Mushroom Ricotta Pizza with Wild Arugula + Aged Balsamic
- Skillet Lasagna with Lamb, Ricotta + Mint
- Great Grandma Francesca Cardile’s Cookies
- Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes Over Angel Hair
- Pax Romana’s Quinoa Salad with Mixed Vegetable, Goat Cheese & Orange Dressing
- Turdilli & Chinudille (Traditional Italian Christmas Cookies)
- Skillet Garlic Parmesan Bread
- Ricotta Cookies
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