If you're looking for a grilled Italian sausage and pepper recipe, this isn't the place. Fortunately, Kenji already has a wonderful-looking recipe ready for you. But if you're lacking an outdoor grill, and still want to dig into an enormous sausage and pepper sandwich, then read on. Most non-grill recipes simply cook everything in a skillet, a method that can certainly lead to a tasty meal, but lacks a certain something. It wasn't until I thought about roasted peppers, and how great they tasted, that I finally got the idea that everything should go in the oven.
For the most part, all you need is the oven. The only exception is for the sausages, which come out fully cooked but kind of pale. Fortunately, all you have to do is sauté them in a skillet for a few minutes to finish the job. While looking through some recipes, I noticed that a good number included mushrooms in the mix—something I'd never really experienced before. But I was intrigued, so I gave them a go. To my surprise, the roasted mushroom caps worked, adding a meaty pop to each bite.
It wasn't until I was nearly done that I realized most sausage and pepper sandwiches have some kind of sauce. What was I going to do? I didn't want to deal with any more cooking, so I tossed the peppers and onions in a large bowl with fresh basil and balsamic oil, which lightened up the roasted vegetables while adding a bit of sweetness. It worked better than I could have imagined.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 (6-inch) Italian sausage links (preferably hot)
- kosher salt
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, ends removed, caps quartered
- 2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried orgeno
- 4 italian rolls
- 8 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- giardiniera, for serving (optional)
Adjust oven racks to lower middle and upper middle positions, and preheat to 500°F. Add sausage links and mushrooms to a large baking sheet, and toss with a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt. Add red bell peppers, green bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano to a second large baking sheet and toss with a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt.
Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet with sausages and mushrooms. Use a meat thermometer to check if the sausages are cooked through, around 140°F. The mushrooms should be tender. Using a pair of tongs, stir the pepper and onion mixture. Cook until onions and peppers are tender and starting to brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. At this time, wrap Italian rolls in aluminum foil and set in the oven to warm.
While the peppers and onions finish cooking, warm remaining two tablespoons in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage links, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Set aside.
When peppers and onion are done, carefully remove pan from the oven. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add in the cooked mushrooms, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar. Toss well and season with a pinch of salt, if necessary.
Remove rolls from oven and unwrap. If not already cut, slice horizontally through the roll, stopping a half-inch from the other side. Load each with an Italian sausage, a generous scoop of the pepper and onion mixture. If you need more heat, add some giardiniera.