This recipe was adapted from a great recipe by the Frankies, two guys from Brooklyn named Frank, from their book The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. This cookbook is written to please any level cook. They share traditional Italian-American cooking (note: not Italy-Italian), supplemented by skills and techniques they developed as high-end chefs. They now deploy this talent at their two classy neighborhood-hangout restaurants in New York.
This recipe is incredible. Yet I've modified it a little, to further make it a more efficient everyday dish for a busy cook. I believe they serve this dish with polenta (as have I, but that's a different kettle of fish). I suggest pasta and a quick par-boil of the sausage.
Parboiling the sausage can can be done simultaneously with carmelizing onions and roasting peppers. Cooking pasta (or polenta if you're comfortable with that) can be done simultaneous to cooking tomatoes in the recently combined onion/pepper mixture. After a very quick soapy rinse the same pot gets used for pasta.
Note: There are only 4 ingredients in this dish + pasta (and olive oil, salt and pepper, which don't count). It's about technique and ingredient quality (the sausage and tomatoes).
Italian Sausage with Carmelized Onions and Roasted Peppers
8-10 Italian sausage links
3-4 red and yellow peppers
2 large onions
A 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
1 pound pasta, a large shape such as rigatoni
- Perform these three steps in parallel with each other to the greatest extent you can. All can be done hours in advance (put the sausage in fridge).
- Fill a pot big enough to cook a pound of pasta about halfway with water. Bring to a near-boil and cook 8 Italian sausage links for 10 minutes, then remove. Sausage will not be fully cooked.
- Preheat a broiler (or grill). Slice red and yellow peppers (and green if you want) around the core into four large segments. Place skin-side up on a foil-lined pan and broil until skins are browned. Set aside to cool. Details on this technique are here.
- Slice one or two large onions. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil at medium high, add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes more (30 minutes total). Details of this technique HERE.
- Remove casing from sausages and break apart. Add to carmelized onions. Cook over medium heat until sausage is slightly browned.
- Peel skins off peppers when cool enough to handle.
- Add peppers and a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes. Add salt and fresh ground pepper.Cook for a while. Five or ten minutes will do, a half hour or a little more is even better.
- Cook pasta per package directions and drain. Fresh pasta (yet another fish kettle) would be absolutely over the top here. I actually have details on how to select and cook pasta....here.
The technique of cooking several ingredients separately is common in some super high end kitchens (think Thomas Keller) to allow each ingredient to be cooked to a desired done-ness and retain it's texture at a desired level. The opposite approach - creating a melthing pot of flavors, has is own distinct benefits. I like what happens in this dish - as it takes an immigrant classic and brings it up a level.