I love good Italian sausage. Even though I don’t have what I would call a real Italian market nearby, there is a small family owned restaurant that makes (and sells) delicious sausage. Years ago I had a little corner store that I could walk to from my apartment and their sausage was the best. The source I now have ranks a close second.
I grew up eating Italian sausage cooked in the big pot of tomato sauce (better known as gravy) that my grandmother made every Sunday. Even as a child I was known to put away a big plate of pasta, along with a meatball or two and a link of sweet fennel sausage. After hours simmering away in the sauce the sausage was fork tender and full of flavor. Not to be forgotten is the sausage and pepper sandwich served on crusty bread which was a staple of the backyard barbecues of my youth. These were also a must have at the Italian street festivals that we frequented.
Tonight I decided to combine my two favorite sausage preparations by combining sausage and peppers with a tomato sauce. I’ve been craving polenta and had originally planned on having friends to dinner and serving it topped with a pork fennel stew, but our guests had to cancel. J. came home with a big bag of both sweet and hot sausage from the restaurant, so it made sense to top the creamy polenta with a hearty tomato sauce with sausage and peppers. I’ll save the pork stew for the re-scheduled dinner party.
You don’t really need a recipe for this-I heat some olive oil in a pan, brown the sausages, lower the heat, throw in sliced onions and red and yellow peppers and saute until vegetables are softened. Add crushed tomatoes or tomato puree, season with salt and pepper and let simmer. I think I’ll throw in a little basil and that’s it! I’m serving this over polenta made with the easy oven method and a loaf of crusty bread. Buon appetito!