A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big, BIG everything else: flavor, ideas, wow factor. Psst: We don't count water, salt, pepper, and certain fats (say, olive oil to dress greens or sauté onions), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re making a to-the-point dinner with weeknights in mind.
We’re not playing games. We’re not unveiling secret ingredients. In fact, if I told you the recipe title—Sausage With Peppers, Potatoes, and Onions—well, oops, I just told you the whole ingredient list. Cat’s out of the bag.
I’m a, You had me at sausage sort of person. A recipe needs to merely mention it and my ears perk up. But there are a couple classics that I’m particularly weak for: Pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. And Italian sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions.
The latter is my ballpark go-to. Which I say as if I go to a ballpark more than once every, I don’t know, four years. (I don’t.) But when I do, if there’s a sausage sandwich stand, that’s where you’ll find me, totally missing the game but perfectly content, because sausage is priority.
This recipe is me trying to have that too-good combo more than once every four years. I tailored it from stadium fare (easily eaten with one hand so you can drink beer with the other and jump out of your seat at any time) to weeknight supper (easily assembled with little active time so you can simultaneously fold laundry and watch The Crown).
Where we lose the bread, we gain potatoes. I like tiny ones here, which only need to be cut in half. If you can find rainbow ones, great. If you can’t, buttery yukons are perfect, too.
I also wanted to increase the vegetables, make them less toppings to and more equals with the sausage. I prefer mix-and-match bell peppers—say, one orange, one yellow—but anything tastes great when caramelized in olive oil and pork fat. Same deal with the onion; we went with flashy red, but yellow works as well.
Now, what kind of sausage? I like spicy Italian. Maybe you like sweet. Or maybe you like something else entirely, like chorizo. Just find a fresh link, not an already cooked one (say, smoked).
I guess there is one little trick to this dish: It’s one-skillet, hopefully a big cast-iron one. You get it super hot, then stagger the ingredients—sausage first, then potatoes, then peppers and onions. Each ingredient accomplishes its goal, then everyone huddles back together with a splash of water to finish cooking.
It’s not a stir-fry, so you don’t have to hover over the stove. Which means while everything cooks, I can be getting a salad together or opening a bottle of wine. And if you want to serve a little bread alongside as an ode to our sandwich inspo, I’d never stop you. In fact, I hope you’d invite me over.
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.
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