Greek-Style Sausage and Peppers, or Spetzofai, is a simple dish of sausage and peppers, simmered in a zesty tomato-based sauce. Your family will love it!
I was walking down my little town’s main street yesterday afternoon with a friend, and I noticed that golden light that comes only in the early autumn – it’s an amber that washes everything with warmth and coziness. Looking down at the brick pathway, there were a few leaves that have fallen, and I realized: it’s really here.
We’re in full autumn swing now, and the kids and I are feverishly planning Halloween costumes and my son’s birthday, which is just around the corner. And with life being just so full right now, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me to share a recipe from my friend Kathy Strahs – you may know her from Panini Happy. Not only has Kathy started her own publishing company, Burnt Cheese Press, she is launching a new cookbook today, The 8×8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More—In One Perfect 8×8-inch Dish, which is full of recipes that are perfect for busy families. The idea behind the book is pretty smart — when you’re feeding a family of 4-6, all you really need is a simple 8×8 baking dish. I love the idea of saving the large 9×13 pans for the bigger gatherings – this way of cooking is definitely more practical and in line with the way we eat!
I couldn’t be more happy to help Kathy as she releases The 8×8 Cookbook, and launches a month-long crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com today. To celebrate the launch, I am excited to join the 8×8 Blog Potluck where our blogging friends are sharing a recipe from the book.
This Greek-Style Sausage and Peppers was a no brainer for me. All the ingredients we love are in a perfect 8×8 square! Eggplant and peppers, along with sausage (we prefer spicy, but you can tone it down for your family, as Kathy has) are simmered in a zesty tomato sauce, perfect for these fall weeknights when we are craving something simple and hearty.
Be sure to check out all the wonderful recipes in today’s 8×8 Potluck (see the list below), and I hope you consider supporting the cookbook’s crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com, where you can back the project and get signed copies of the book, Kathy’s daughter’s “How to Make Mac ’n Cheese” graphic tee, and other rewards.
Please visit these wonderful blogs to see what they made from The 8×8 Cookbook!
- Baked Blueberry Oatmeal (Breezy Brunch) ~ Julie from Peanut Butter and Julie
- Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Cream Biscuits (Sweet Treats) ~ Gerry from Foodness Gracious
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Sweet Treats) ~ Jenny from Picky Palate
- Chocolate Craving Cake (Sweet Treats) ~ Amanda from I Am Baker
- Greek-Style Sausage and Peppers (Weeknights Won) ~ Liren from Kitchen Confidante
- Honey-Glazed Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables (Weeknights Won) ~ Jane from This Week For Dinner
- Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders (Weeknights Won) ~ Amy from Very Culinary
- Layered Spinach, Artichoke and Crab Dip (On the Side) ~ Kathy from Panini Happy (and author of The 8×8 Cookbook)
- Pastitsio (The Sunday Dinner Table) ~ Rachel from Rachel Cooks
Greek-Style Sausage and Peppers
When friends from other countries share their traditions with me—particularly those I can eat—I feel so fortunate. My friend Eleni, an investment adviser and mom of two adorable little girls, was born and raised in Greece and has a wealth of amazing Greek recipes. She is the one who first introduced me to spetzofai—a Greek sausage and peppers dish, simmered in a zesty tomato-based sauce. It’s traditionally a spicy dish, made with spicy sausages or peppers, but I dial down the heat for my family by choosing milder ones. Be sure to make a big pot of rice to soak up these incredible fresh flavors.
-- By Kathy Strahs, from The 8x8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners and More--In One Perfect 8x8 Inch Dish (Burnt Cheese Press, 2015), reprinted with permission.
This was an instant hit with my family -- since we love bold and spicy flavors, we love it with spicy sausage!
3 cups cubed eggplant (about 1⁄2 large or 1 to 2 Japanese)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3⁄4 pound fully-cooked pork or chicken smoked sausages, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups diced tomatoes (about 2 to 3 medium)
1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the eggplant with salt in a colander. Set the colander over a bowl to catch any moisture that is drawn out from the eggplant for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage slices and brown them on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the sausages to a paper towel-lined plate—keep the remaining oil in the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and peppers to the same skillet and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to an 8x8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggplant to the skillet. Cook the eggplant, stirring occasionally, until it’s browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the baking dish.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, and tomato paste to the skillet, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 cup of water, oregano, sugar, and pepper, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Pour the tomato mixture into the baking dish. Add in the sausages and carefully stir to combine—the dish will be quite full. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30 minutes to allow sauce to simmer and flavors to combine. Serve over rice or with crusty bread.
Kathy Strahs, from The 8x8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners and More--In One Perfect 8x8 Inch Dish (Burnt Cheese Press, 2015), reprinted with permission.