My swimmers eat a lot of pasta! I am always trying to come up with ways to make it differently. I have used it in stir-fry’s, in casseroles (but to be honest my family doesn’t eat too many of those), and I have made it just with butter and chopped fresh garlic and parmesan cheese and they are happy.
But since I am often busy in the evenings at the pool, I need to have an option that can be easily heated up or in the crock pot. We often eat in shifts around here and there are some weeks we don’t eat a meal together until Sunday. This is one of those weeks!
I love sausage and peppers and so does my family. But I don’t like it when the peppers are all soggy. I found that if you put the peppers in the crockpot, an hour before serving them, they are perfect. Cooked but still firm. I usually just lay them on top of the tomatoes and sausage. They steam a little in there with the lid on and they are perfectly cooked in about an hour.
For this recipe I have done it two different ways. I have used Mild Italian sausage, and Sweet Italian Sausage. My family likes both, but I can’t serve them hot sausage! They would definitely not eat it! I like to leave the links in tact with the casing on them. I am sure it can be removed if you like, but when it is in the slow cooker I don’t want them to fall apart.
I use no salt added tomato sauce. You can use any brand you like, I just happen to find Hunts today. I like the petite diced tomatoes, they are small for adding to this recipe for texture and a little extra tomato flavor.
1 Package of Mild Italian Sausage links or Sweet Italian Sausage
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 medium onion sliced
2 bell peppers sliced into strips (I used one red and one yellow)
5 – 6 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
Mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese optional
(Pasta for serving or hard sandwich rolls)
Place diced tomatoes in bottom of slow cooker. In heavy bottom pan or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add sausage links and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in crock pot on top of tomato’s. Reduce heat, add coarsely chopped garlic to pan, and cook till translucent about 1 minute. Don’t let it burn.
Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir. Remove from heat and add to slow cooker. Stir into sausage and diced tomato’s. Add the sliced onions and stir into the tomatoes mixture. Cook on low about 4 hours.
One hour before serving place peppers on top of sausage and cover. Cook an additional hour until peppers are soft but not soggy. Serve over your favorite pasta (penne is great) or in a toasted hard roll top with parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella.