This Italian sausage and peppers recipe is pure comfort food. Your favorite variety of Italian sausages, a blend of peppers, and lots of onion cook in just one pan with an ultra flavorful sauce. This classic Italian food staple freezes well and can be served on sandwiches, over pasta, and more.
What better recipe is there to say “happy first unofficial day of summer” than warming sausage and peppers?? As usual, my sense of seasonality is impeccable. Like soup in the hot months and frozen desserts in the cold…anything flies around here.
The truth is I’ve been sitting on this recipe for awhile, and couldn’t possibly wait any longer to share. Sausage and peppers is a classic Italian recipe that always has a knack for hitting the spot. It shines on sandwiches, though it can be just as easily served over pasta.
In fact I’ve been known to eat it straight up in a bowl with a side salad and a nice and crusty piece (or two) of bread. You won’t want to leave behind any of this delicious sauce, and bread makes the perfect vehicle for maximizing sauce consumption.
How to make sausage and peppers
Just one pan is what you need to cook stovetop Italian sausage and peppers. First you’ll brown the sausages, using tongs to rotate the sausages around so that all sides get a chance to brown evenly. Once they’re browned, remove them to a separate plate and wipe out the skillet to be used again.
Before we go on, let’s talk Italian sausage.
Unlike with my Italian sausage quesadillas and Italian sausage soup, we’re keeping the casings on the sausages here. So a package of ground sausage won’t work. Other that that? Choose your preferred variety of Italian seasoned sausage. Mild, sweet (mild spice but with sweet basil), or hot…they’d all work. So will pork, turkey, or chicken.
I’m partial to using sweet Italian sausages for sausage and peppers. And while I love how turkey Italian sausage can lighten up plenty of recipes, I go for pork here to bring that traditional comfort food flavor.
Once the sausages have browned, the peppers and onions will cook in olive oil until they’re beginning to soften. Then in go minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Let that all cook for an extra minute or two.
Next up is four tablespoons of tomato paste. It won’t be especially easy to evenly work the tomato paste into the onions and peppers because it globs up. But work it into the sauteed peppers and onions the best you can.
I like to brown the tomato paste this way before adding the liquid because I find it caramelizes the sugars and makes the flavors more complex. Once the paste is browned and wine is poured in to deglaze the pan, all those browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan get stirred into the sauce. Y-U-M.
The consistency should be “jammy” like the photo above at this point.
All that’s left is to add the diced tomatoes and herbs, and then stir in the sliced sausages. Since the sausages were just browned the first time around, they’ll need to cook in the sausage and peppers mixture for about 25 – 30 minutes (or until fully cooked). This cook time also allows the sauce to thicken up, taking on a seriously delicious flavor.
To serve Italian sausage and peppers on sandwich rolls, I recommend scooping out the mixture with a slotted spoon so that excess liquid stays behind. Much of the sauce will thicken well and cling to the sauteed peppers, onion, and sausage sections, so you shouldn’t have to worry about a dry or overly soggy sandwich.
Other Italian sausage recipes
It’s no secret that Italian sausage is a frequent ingredient in my kitchen, and there are several delicious main dish recipes that feature it on the blog.
- When I make gnocchi, nine times out of ten I toast it in a pan instead of boil it. This gives it a great texture and also means you can (usually) use just one pan for dinner. See it in action with this recipe for gnocchi with Italian sausage and homemade marinara. I’ve started preparing this creamy pesto gnocchi with white beans and sausage that way, too.
- Enjoy all the flavors of a supreme pizza in these supreme stuffed portobello mushroom pizzas.
- Spicy sausage fettuccine fancies up store-bought tomato sauce for a weeknight shortcut…
- …though if you’re interested in trying out homemade, hot sausage and rosemary tomato sauce makes plenty and is great to stick in the freezer. Love making my future life easier.
Italian sausage and peppers recipe notes:
- Sweet pork Italian sausages are my pick for this recipe, though you can use turkey/chicken sausages if you like.
- For a little bit of a kick, you can sub out one or two of the sweet sausages for hot.
- To freeze sausage and peppers, simply spoon into an air-tight, freezer-safe container and freeze for several months.
Italian Sausage and Peppers
- 20 oz sweet Italian sausages, (5 sausages)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (4 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup red wine, on the drier side
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 large basil leaves, chopped
- Place a large pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add sausages in a single layer, rotating them every few minutes as needed so that all sides are browned. Once browned, remove them to a separate plate for the time being. Roughly wipe clean pan to use again, and place it back on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil, then sliced onion and all of the sliced peppers. Cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion and peppers are beginning to soften.
- Add minced garlic, salt, and pepper and stir everything up. Cook for an additional minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking up the tomato paste and incorporating it into the rest of the ingredients.
- Pour wine into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced by about half.
- Add diced tomatoes, parsley, oregano, and thyme and stir everything to combine.
- Cut each sausage into 4-5 roughly equal-sized chunks and add them to the pan. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the sausages are fully cooked and the sauce has thickened to your liking. Stir in chopped basil leaves near the end of the cook time. Serve on rolls, over pasta, etc.
Base recipe adapted from Food Network