Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italian Sausage Peppers & Onions, lightened up

On a cold winter day, this is an awesome dish to make for your family. It is quick, easy, makes enough for a leftover lunch the next day, and even my kiddos love it. Italian comfort food, but lightened up significantly from the original using lean turkey. Want to lighten it up even more? Omit the rolls and provolone and serve it over rice--still a hearty, delicious dinner, and you'll save yourself 85 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving.

A quick prep tip: for years, I cut up bell peppers in a way that took WAY more energy than it should--then I watched a professional chef cut them up, and it has saved me tons of time in the kitchen. To cut up bell peppers, wash them, then set them stem-side-down on a cutting board. Place the blade of your knife into the dimple at the center, and angling the blade toward the outside edge, slice downward, ending with your knife resting on the cutting board about 1/4 from the stem. Basically, you are cutting off the side of the pepper, without touching the seeds or stem. Turn the pepper, and cut off another side. You can remove all the edible pepper in 3 or 4 cuts, and you'll leave all of the seeds and stem intact to discard. From there, you can slice and chop to your hearts content. So easy! Here's a link to a video tutorial, in case you need a visual aid.

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet italian turkey sausage, casings removed
(or look for the new Italian-seasoned ground turkey--even easier!)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. italian seasoning
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup Marsala wine (if you can't find marsala, it will be equally delicious with any red wine, just add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar to add a little sweetness and balance the acidity of the tomatoes)
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
6 bakery sandwich rolls
6 slices provolone cheese

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add sausage to pan and brown, breaking up into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Cook 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned. Dump sausage onto a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and return skillet to heat.

Turn down burner to medium heat. Add peppers, onions, salt and pepper to the pan and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the italian seasoning and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the marsala wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits of gunk from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon. Add canned tomatoes and crushed red pepper and bring to a simmer.

Return sausage to pan and stir. Simmer the mixture of medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until sauce has thickened slightly.

Meanwhile, split sandwich rolls, leaving one side intact (Ever been to Subway? Try to imitate their method for cutting the bread). Spread open the bread and line the inside with a slice of provolone. Place on a cookie sheet and pop under the broiler for a minute or two to toast the edges of the bread and melt the cheese. Spoon sausage mixture into your bread and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information: 417 calories, 13 grams of fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 860 mg sodium, 15.5 grams of carbs (2.2 g of fiber, 9 g sugar), 24 grams protein.

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