Winter Sandwich on the Menu that’s full of Flavor at Every Bite

IMG_1638When I was young we celebrated Christmas eve dinner at my grandmothers (my dad’s mom) who was 100% Italian.  It was a never-ending feast.  After courses of dinner were complete & dessert had been served, not even two hours later an entire tray filled with one sausage sandwich for everyone in the house was popped into the oven.  NO ONE was hungry & yet some (most) ate anyway.  THIS IS A TRUE (and very filling) STORY!  

Fast forward to my adulthood, we no longer pull sausage sandwiches out at 10 PM on Christmas eve.  However, with slight moderations to the recipe,  I do serve it as a hot sandwich dinner occasionally during the winter.  

My grandmother’s sausage sandwich was simply fried spicy pork Italian sausage links, whole ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese & whole mozzarella toasted in the oven on a hard roll.  My twist includes baked turkey sausage, the addition of veggies & low-fat cheeses in the mix.  It’s worth the bite & if you bake the sausage ahead of time and sauté the peppers & onions on the weekend, this recipe can be pulled out of the oven in 20 minutes on a busy weeknight.  It’s a hit at my house just like the original was at grandma’s.  

Sausage Sandwich by Jodie Fitz

2 lbs. sweet Italian turkey sausage

3 bell peppers

1 sweet onion

6 oz. ricotta Cheese, part-skim

5 oz. parmesan Cheese, finely grated

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil, light or virgin

4 0z. mozzarella cheese, part-skim

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  

Coat a glass 9 x 13 baking dish with a light layer of olive oil.  Place the turkey sausage links in it & bake them for 40 minutes.

Wash the bell peppers.  Remove the seeds & cut them into thin strips.  

Remove the skin & cut the onion into thin wedge slices.  

Saute the onions & peppers until tender in olive oil (2 – 3 tablespoons).

Mix the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt & black paper together.

Cut the mozzarella into very thin slices.

Spread a light layer of ricotta cheese on the roll, add turkey sausage, peppers & onions & a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Place the sandwiches onto baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray & pop them in a 375 degree oven.  Bake the sandwiches until the cheese is melted, the sandwich is heated through & the bun is slightly toasted.

Swap the Roll: Not wanting a traditional roll?  Try the FlatOut Bread Fold-its (either traditional or rosemary & olive oil are great flavors for this recipe).  Or, simply place a layer of turkey sausage on the baking sheet, spread the ricotta cheese on top, add the peppers & onions and top with the mozzarella.  Remove it from the pan with a spatula & eat it without the bread.

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