Long after I gave up on my sweet pepper plants, they finally produced an abundance of beautiful green, yellow and red peppers. And unlike most of what I grow, these were full-sized. It was a pleasant surprise and a good reason to keep gardening. Last year I used peppers in all the Hungarian dishes I tried and also in the Portuguese recipe for spareribs roasted in a salty sweet pepper marinade, but this year I went Italian and roasted them with onions and sweet Italian sausage. Of everything I've made, this is the one dish where I loved the peppers themselves the best. They are flavored by the sausage and onion, and the result is greater than the sum of its parts.
This can be served with salad and some bread, made into sandwiches, or turned into soup later. It doesn't take much effort either, though I still managed to ruin it once. The last time I made this, I couldn't find Italian sausage and used chorizo instead. It was equally good, just spicier, so I could have used less sausage. The leftovers I made into a soup with leftover rice and sautéed greens.
I originally tried the recipe from The Soprano Family Cookbook, but it's hardly a recipe, more just a great combination.
a combination of red and green bell peppers cut into one inch squares or sliced
1-2 onions cut the same size
1 potato, cut to match the other vegetables
salt and pepper
one pound mild Italian sausages
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Toss all the vegetables with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them out onto one or two baking sheets and pop them into the preheated oven. Watch them, because how quickly they cook depends on how you cut them. After about half an hour, when the vegetables are starting to look soft, prick the sausages in a few places and set them over the vegetables to cook. If your vegetables have shrunk down to nothing and you have them on two trays, be sure to combine them. You don't want to burn your vegetables. Once the sausages have cooked through it's ready to eat.
I've served this with rolls, rice, or a side of spaghetti squash.
Whether you are a gardener drowning in winter greens or you are the person who dutifully buys kale and swiss chard every week only to throw it out the next week, this recipe is for you. I discovered the torta in Andrew Colman's Flavors of the Riviera. The torta was once made in a region so poor that flour and therefore pasta was a luxury, and with a handful of flour, some cheese, and whatever is growing in your garden, you have a meal.
This tastes like a cross between fresh pasta and spanakopita, and once you've made it, you will see that you can fill this with nearly anything in season as long as it isn't too moist. I made this a second time with sautéed mushrooms (which I then strained), goat cheese, thyme, thin slices of zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. It was sooo good. Be forewarned, however, that the dough is supposed to chill for at least an hour, and while this isn't complicated, it takes a little time to roll out, assemble, and bake.
The directions call for this to be made on a 14" pizza pan, but if you don't have one just do this on a baking sheet and make it a rectangle.
Ingredients for the Dough:
1-1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the Filling:
a bunch of Swiss chard with the stems removed and the leaves finely chopped
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled, and diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1-1/4 cups crumbled mild feta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Mix the salt and flour together with a spoon. Drizzle in the oil, and then add water a little bit at a time, up to a half cup. I did this all in the bowl. Cover it with a damp cloth and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
2. While the dough is chilling, prepare all of the filling ingredients and stir them together- EXCEPT for the olive oil.
3. Preheat the oven to 375.
4. Divide the dough into 2 balls, one comprised of one third of the dough and the other of two thirds of the dough. If that sounds too complicated, just make one a little bigger than the other and you'll be fine. On a lightly floured board, roll the larger ball out into a 15 inch circle. Oil and flour a 14 inch pizza pan, and then lay the dough over it. Spread the filling out over the dough. Roll the second dough ball out to 14 inches and top the filling with it. Wet the edge and then fold the bottom layer over the top dough layer to seal it all. Smoosh it down a little with your fingertips to create some indentations, and then drizzle it with the olive oil. Prick it with a fork in a few places to vent steam when it cooks.
5. Bake it for about 35 minutes.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!