Italian Sausage and Pepper Burgers/Sandwiches

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I love sandwiches. My mom hates them. Probably because I made her make me a sandwich every single day of middle school and high school. And I required my sandwiches to be toasted due to the unfortunate fact that I was born with an un-toasted sandwich bread gag reflex. Since high school, I have remarkably learned to make them for myself. And have realized that I never fully appreciated the amount of love it took for my mom to do this for me. Packing lunches (especially sandwiches) is what Michael and I have termed “The Dreaded” in our house.  And sometimes weekends are celebrated soley because we don’t have to do The Dreaded.

 

Naturally, my love for sandwiches has grown exponentially now that I’m pregnant and cannot eat deli meat. #ALLIWANTISASANDWICHDAMMIT.  I’d do The Dreaded on weekends if it meant I could have a sandwich. Even more telling is the fact that my dreams have switched from blue Gatorade waterfalls to quench my drunken thirst to dreams of deli sandwiches.

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So I have resolved to get creative in my sandwich-making. This includes the Italian Sausage and Pepper Burgers from Katie Lee’s Endless Summer cookbook. While technically a burger, I  convinced myself it was a sandwich. I mean, it fits my definition of the quintessential sandwich: a sauce, melted cheese, meat, peppers/onions/pickles, and toasted bread. Also, it deeply troubles me to call anything a burger unless it is on circular bread, and my bread was not circular. Verdict: call it a burger or call it a sandwich but call it amazing.

 

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They were so amazing that I actually had a night of sandwich-less dreams. Instead, I found myself dreaming about a week in Santorini. I told Michael this and he threw away every piece of bread in the house so that I would go back to dreaming of sandwiches. Not the response I had hoped for.

Recipe:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8 ounces hot italian sausage (remove casings)
8 ounces sweet italian sausage (remove casings)
8 slices provolone cheese
4 ciabatta rolls, lightly toasted
1/4 cup pesto (gotta use homemade)

pickled banana peppers

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and the pepper is tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high. Combine both sausages in a bowl. Form into 4 patties. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Top each burger with some of the onions and peppers and two slices of cheese, cover the grill, and cook until the cheese melts. spread the rolls with pesto, add the burgers and banana peppers, and serve immediately.

Charlotte Tip: the best sandwich I have had recently is the Beef Short Rib Baguette from Cafe Monte (with caramelized onions, provolone, and arugula salade).

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