It is safe to say that we are all familiar with the age old crowd pleaser, sausage and peppers. How many of us can look back and recall a community festival where plump and salty sausages were grilled in a booth while the rustic aromas drifted through the air?
While sausage and peppers has received all the attention for decades, now is the time to experience sausage and grapes. This powerful marriage of flavors reminds us how sweet and savory can meet in such a glorious fashion. The rich pork is combined with the sweet juice oozing from the warmed grapes and then tossed with a cool balsamic. It is like lunching on a comfortable bench in a breezy rustic Italian garden, one you would want to dwell in endlessly with a chilled glass of pinot grigio. Whenever I have served this dish, both professionally and personally, I was always humbled by the praise from so many upon first taste. Serve it up with some sharp and flavorful cheeses along with a warm and crunchy loaf of Italian bread, and you will receive raves.
SAUSAGE AND GRAPES
3 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound of Italian sweet sausage links
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 cups of large sweet green grapes
1/4 cup red wine
Kosher salt and crushed black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Warm butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add red pepper flakes and allow to flavor the butter. Lower heat and layer sausages in saute pan. Cover with lid. Allow to cook until nicely browned for about 30 minutes. Turn over once in between cooking.
Remove sausages to a plate. Turn heat back up to medium, and add red onion and grapes to saute pan, allowing to cook in the sausage drippings. Sprinkle in small amount of salt and pepper. Pour red wine to moisten grapes and red onions. Continue to cook until grapes start to pucker and release juices.
On a cutting board, slice sausages on an angle and add back into saute pan. Stir all ingredients together well and slowly pour in balsamic vinegar evenly. Incorporate flavors for two more minutes. Serve warm.