Thursday, July 2, 2009

Italian Sausage Skillet

Tonight's Freezer Meat Challenge dinner used up half of the home-made Italian sausage that my dad made from our freezer. I believe it was one pound and it came from the downstair's overflow freezer.

My dad used to work for a butcher and the owner taught him the secrets and spice ratios to make sweet Italian link sausage, hot Italian link sausage, and ground breakfast sausage. Over the years he's experimented on his own and with my brother to come up with a few versions of their own. Tonight's was a Cajun link sausage that has an almost sweet heat and flecks of bright green from jalepenos inside the meat mixture.

A few times a year they make a couple hundred pounds of natural casing sausage using a huge metal tub that my maternal grandfather used to receive baths in, an antique hand-cranked sausage press, and a vintage butcher's scale to weigh and package them. People flock to the door to pick up their orders, which are neatly labeled and lined up in coolers for them. More often than not, it's frozen in smaller batches and used for the next few months, until the next sausage making marathon when they can stock up again.

Sausage Skillet Dinner

1 lb. sausage links
2 green peppers, sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 lb. pasta of choice

First, I put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. While that was coming up to temperature, I browned the sausage links in a hot skillet with a little bit of olive oil, for 2 or 3 minutes each side, until they had a nice color. Then, I poured about 1/2 cup of water into the pan and put a lid on it, so they could begin to cook through.

By now, maybe 5 minutes later, the pasta water had begun to boil. I threw the pasta in, flipped the sausages, added another 1/2 cup of water, and the sliced peppers and onions, and returned the lid.
When the pasta had about 7 minutes left, I removed the lid from the sausage pan and let the liquid evaporate, and the sausage and vegetables get some nice color.

I drained the pasta, and tossed it with a little bit of olive oil. To plate I first scooped pasta on to the plate, then added the sausage, peppers and onions, and finished with a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella over top.

This was really fulfilling and I enjoyed the sweet heat of the sausage paired with the tender vegetables and soft pasta. The best parts are that it cooked in the time it took my water to boil and pasta to cook and dirtied only one pan!

This made tons, too! We have a big tupperware container full of leftovers - enough for a whole second dinner! It'd feed a family of four easily!


Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Oh yum! I looooove sausage pasta :)

Sweetie Pie said...

I love sausage, and this looks awesome. Can I just tell you how jealous I am that your dad makes this and shares it with you? Seriously! I'm bright green with envy! Very cool, and I'm sure it's very delicious too!

Anonymous said...

haha, you're already on to your freezer meat challenge, and it's on to a beautifully delicious start!

Jan Holt said...

That looks so good! I love that your dad is passing down his knowledge too.

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Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Christina, that sausage looks amazing! How fun your dad and brother make it home made!

Anonymous said...

That looks so good! Of course, I would leave out the onions!

Question - I couldn't find canned green chiles for my rellenos bake, so I picked up whole jalapenos - do you think they'll be too hot? Not sure how hot a green chile is!

Christina said...

We ate the 2nd half of this last night and there was STILL some pasta left! It reheated nicely in a 400° oven, baked for about 30 minutes in a foil covered pyrex dish.

Nowheymama said...

I made split pea soup tonight with the ham bone in our freezer and thought of you.

Christina said...

Awww, thanks Sarah! haha <3