Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dinner Tonight: Italian Sausage Sandwiches

Simple dinner on a hot day. Italian sausage sandwiches. No frills.

My garden's not going gangbusters this year, and I missed the farmer's market on Saturday...but I've still got home-canned goods from last fall, so that's what I used for cooking the sausage.

Aren't these Roma tomatoes pretty? I'd like to have enough to make sauce, but so far there are just a few ripe ones here and there.

Here's how I cooked the sausages: Two pint jars of my home-canned tomatoes went into a pan, and I broke them up a bit and got them simmering. Then I added one green bell pepper and one red pepper cut into strips, and about a third of a jar of a chunky non-spicy home-canned tomato salsa (tomatoes, diced onions, peppers...). Simmered that for a while, then added four pieces of Italian sausage that I brought home from Chicago. Simmered that until the meat was done and the peppers were getting softer. The sauce was a bit chunky since it hadn't cooked for terribly long, but it had a lot of flavor.

Often, when I cook Italian sausage for sandwiches, I use tomato sauce rather than whole tomatoes, but I didn't have any on hand, and I did have the whole's what I used. If you have tomato sauce, use that. Or tomato paste thinned with water. Or whatever works for you.

You might note that I didn't add any seasoning to the sauce besides what was in the salsa. I find that if the Italian sausage is good, it adds plenty of flavor to the tomato sauce. And really, the tomato sauce is a condiment for the sausage sandwich, it's not the star of the dish.

If you want more flavor in the sauce, basil, marjoram, oregano and/or fennel would all be nice. Add salt if the sauce needs it, but the sausage might be salty enough to season the sauce, so taste it before you salt it.

I served the sausages on home made buns. They were a little denser than my fluffy hot dog buns, and a little bigger. The denseness was nice for soaking up the sauce, and to fit fat sausages rather than skinny hot dogs.

Oh, you want a recipe for the buns? Be patient, it will be up soon.

On the side, I served some sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Since they were so fresh, there was no need to dress them up at all.

I might break up the left over sausage and serve it with the sauce over pasta for the next meal. We'll see. The leftovers might not make it past lunch.