Tag Archives: smoked sausage

Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

Just a few posts ago, I traveled back to the 70s to bring you a crazy crust pie. Today, I only go back to the 80s to bring you another meal in a crust, “Sausage and Three Pepper Pie,” from a March 1987 article in Redbook magazine—do they still publish Redbook? The article showed 12 different pies that used either hot roll mix or frozen puff pastry (sheets or shells) for the crusts. The whole idea of a one meal dish with a crust is obviously related to the pizza and even the sandwich, but some of these pies seem a little fancier. Whatever the motivation to invention, it’s both convenient and impressive to serve these creations in a crust.

The pie I made uses hot roll mix for the crust, but I imagine you could use a homemade roll dough instead. I made only a few changes to the original recipe and I’ll give you both versions below.

My Version: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, sliced into bite size rounds (mine was a beef sausage)

1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

salt and pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix (requires 2 tablespoons soft butter and 1 large egg)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup (or more) grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling ingredients first, so they cool a little while you make the dough:

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in each of two large skillets over medium-high heat. In one skillet, cook peppers and onion until they begin to soften, about five minutes. In the other skillet, brown the sausage, then add the tomatoes and garlic, stirring to heat through. Set both aside, stirring half the Parmesan into each mixture.

Prepare dough for crust:

  • Prepare dough according to package directions, using the butter and egg in the directions. I still can’t figure out why the original recipe leaves those out. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. You need to be able to press it in the pan and up the sides. I added about 1/4 cup extra and it was still a soft dough.
  • Let dough rest, covered for 5 minutes.
  • Press dough into bottom of greased dish and up sides at least an inch. Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.
  • Bake the unfilled dough for five minutes.
  • Remove the dish and add filling. I add the peppers and onion first, and then the sausage and tomatoes, so the juices run over the peppers. Cover with mozzarella.
  • Bake for 20 more minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Let cool and cut in squares.

Original: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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“A hearty, colorful Italian main dish.” Redbook, March 1987

Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound sweet Italian sausages

1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling: Using fork, prick each sausage in several places. In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook sausages about 20 minutes, turning frequently until well browned on all sides. Using slotted spoon, remove sausages to paper towels to drain. when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices, set aside. To drippings remaining in skillet add green, red and yellow peppers and onion; cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in fennel seeds, salt, black pepper and reserved sausages. set aside.

Prepare crust: Prepare hot-roll mix according to package directions, using 1 1/4 cups hot water and omitting margarine and egg. After dough rests 5 minutes, pat into prepared baking dish, making thick, high border around sides. Bake 5 minutes. remove baking dish from oven; maintain oven temperature. Spoon sausage mixture into crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20 minutes until cheese melts and crust is golden brown.

Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Apples and Sausage

Gratins are classically defined as some ingredient, usually a vegetable, baked with a topping of cheese or breadcrumbs that browns during the baking process. Most gratins also include something that binds it all together, like cream or sour cream or milk, even a white sauce or eggs. The gratin sauce, though, is not so heavy that it overpowers the main ingredient. I like to just use cheese and cream. I would say, also, that most gratins are simple, using only a few ingredients, and mine is a little more complicated because I’m bringing in the apples and sausage, but I’m still basing it on the principle of a gratin.

Here’s a terrible one-handed video of me trying to film and work at the same time, adding the cream and cheese:

Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Apples and Sausage

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; butter a shallow 1 1/2-2 quart baking dish.

I used a small squash of probably less than 2 pounds (about 3 cups of cooked squash), so a larger one would yield more servings.

1 spaghetti squash, 3-5 cups of cooked squash

1 medium onion, diced

1/2-1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (mine was an uncured, but fully cooked beef sausage)

1 large apple, diced (forgot to mention I peeled mine, but it’s not necessary)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1-2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2-1 cup heavy cream, heated in microwave for about 1 minute

1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Roasting the Squash

There seems to be a consensus on the web about cooking a spaghetti squash whole and then opening it and removing the seeds, but that yields more of a steamed interior. I like to roast a spaghetti squash as I would an acorn squash. The roasted flavor is much better than the steamed result. This step can be done in advance and assembled on another day.

  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Cutting a winter squash in half is never easy, so be careful and use a good knife. Take your time, rocking the knife through a little at a time.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place the halves, cut side down in a baking dish, with about a half inch of hot water.
  4. Roast at 350° for 30 minutes. Turn the halves over and brush the flesh with butter. Roast for another 30 minutes. The water will evaporate and look burnt in the dish, but it comes right off with some soaking.
  5. Pull the flesh out into strands with a fork. Set aside.

Preparing the Gratin

You can prepare the other ingredients while the squash is roasting. This is a dish in which all the main ingredients are partially cooked before assembly. I like to cook the onion, sausage, and apple in layers, instead of all together.

  1. In a medium to large sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat.
  2. Sauté the onions until they begin to brown. Remove carefully, trying not to remove all the fat in the pan.
  3. Add the sliced sausage and cook until browned. Remove to a plate.
  4. Add the diced apples to the pan, which will have a lot of browned bits on the bottom. Cook for a few minutes and then add about 2 tablespoons of water to de-glaze the pan.
  5. In your baking dish, add the spaghetti squash, parsley, onions, sausage, and apples, tossing all to combine without breaking the squash strands.
  6. Pour over enough cream to moisten. I ended up using about 3/4 cup of the cream. Sprinkle grated cheese over top.
  7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

Note: I only seasoned the onions during the prep with salt and pepper. Parmesan is a salty cheese and that was plenty for me.