Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers with Yellow Tomato Sauce

After a week of eating meeting food and a ridiculously late flight home last night I am super glad to be in the kitchen tonight.  Just no interest in going to the grocery store.  Well, I didn’t do all that extra farmers’ market shopping and freezing for nothing.  Instant dinner time.

This morning I took a bag of banana peppers (grown in my very own garden) stuffed with Faith Farm hot Italian sausage out of the freezer.  A little more digging in the freezer bins revealed a bag of crushed yellow tomatoes and a bag of whole peeled yellow and red tomatoes.  Perfect.  Make a little tomato sauce; bake the peppers in it; serve it with some whole wheat rotini.  Done.  And yum.

Here’s the thing about working with frozen tomatoes.  When they thaw there’s a lot of water to deal with.  The best way to handle it is to put it in a pan and simmer it until the liquid cooks off. The tomato flavor concentrates as it cooks.  You can do it at a rapid boil too to save some time.  The flavor isn’t quite as rich, but it’s much faster.  If you’re really pressed for time you can pour the water off, but you’ll end up with a weaker tomato flavor.  In that case you’ll likely want to add some extra spices for depth.  My sauce is nothing but sauteed garlic and onions with the tomatoes, some dried basil, some dried oregano and a pinch of sugar.  Easy.

The spicy sausage adds the perfect heat to the soft green flavor of the peppers.  Of course if you’re feeding little ones or just don’t like the heat, mild sausage will do nicely as well.  The tomatoes are bright and rich and remind me of summer.  This is a really versatile dish.  Serve 2 pepper halves with some sauce as a first course.  Serve two pepper halves over scrambled eggs to add something extra to breakfast.  Fold them inside a parmesan cheese omelette for brunch.  Or serve them over pasta for an easy week night dinner.  I’d count on 4 halves per adult for dinner.

For those of you watching your pennies this is as inexpensive as it is good. I grew the peppers and tomatoes from seed so pretty negligible cost there. An entire 8×8 pan of peppers only uses 1/2-3/4 pound of sausage so a few dollars there. Half an onion. Overall you’re looking at about $2 per person even with the pasta. What a deal!

Good? Very, very good.
Easy? Very, very easy.
Good for company? As an appetizer, they would be terrific!
Special shopping? Nope, just a little extra effort in the Summer.

Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers

Ingredients

6 medium banana peppers, halved and seeded
1/2-3/4 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing, spicy or mild

Directions

Press the sausage into the pepper halves until the peppers are completely full and the sausage is even with the top of the pepper. Line the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with the peppers, sausage side up. Set aside.
Note: If you’re freezing the peppers for later use, put them in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Lie the bag flat to freeze.

Yellow Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 C crushed yellow tomatoes, undrained
2 C whole peeled yellow tomatoes (or yellow and red tomatoes), undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt

Directions

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. Add garlic and onions. Saute until they beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and spices. Simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated.

Pour the sauce over the peppers. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes. Serve alone or over pasta. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese if desired.

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One Response to “Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers with Yellow Tomato Sauce”

  1. fawn Says:

    This sounds wonderful!! I can’t wait to get some of these in my freezer.

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