If you have ever been looking for a cab in Boston at 1am, especially in Faneuil Hall or Fenway, you know what this dinner smells like. The smell of grilled Italian sausage, peppers, and onions is ubiquitous with that city, late at night.
Smells are always a pretty powerful memory tool for me. I have a sensitive nose anyway, and I link times in my life to certain smells without even knowing it. I was 13 years old and heart broken that the love of my life had dumped me. You know how it goes when you’re 13 and know everything. I was shopping with my mom, walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch, and almost melted because it smelled like him. Super creepy. In my defense, it also smelled like every other boy in my class–there was not a lot of cologne variety, but alas, for me it was that guy.
By the way, they must pump cologne in the vents there or something; should an A&F ever close or move, good luck to the next retailer. It’s going to smell like 14 year old boys dressed up for the movies forever.
When I envisioned this panini, it started with wanting sausage and peppers and also wanting to break out my panini press, which I’m still very much in love with. What happened, though, was that the peppers and onions did their magic with the sausage and all of a sudden I was back on State Street in Boston waiting in a very long line for a sub with my friend Cecelia at 1am. That sub was worth every minute we stood out in the cold. Every single one. Smell is a powerful thing.
Sausage and peppers is a simple and traditional dish that in this case is amped up with crunchy, crusty grilled bread and some melty mozzarella cheese. Sure, you could go the traditional sub route, but why? Get a sub in Boston and make some memories. Make this panini tonight.
Here’s the recipe.
Sausage and Peppers Panini
- 1 loaf sour dough bread, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- Spicy brown mustard,
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Cooking spray
- Salt and pepper
- In a large cast iron skillet, sear the sausage on all sides on medium high heat until golden brown. Remove to a plate and split them in half lengthwise.
- Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and cook until softened and slightly browned. Nestle the sausages back in the skillet, making sure the cut side of the sausage is touching the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through. Move the peppers and onions around periodically so they don’t burn.
- Build your sandwich: on two slices of sour dough, spread a thin layer of spicy brown mustard on each side. Top one side with shredded mozzarella cheese, then two halves of sausage, then peppers and onions, and then more mozzarella cheese.
- Spray a pre-heated panini press with cooking spray and add the sandwich to the center. Press as much as you can and cook until the bread is golden brown and crispy and all of the cheese is melted. Remove to a plate, split in half, and serve with chips, crunchy raw vegetables, or a nice green salad. We ate ours as is–it’s pretty filling!