Slow Cooker Italian Sausage & Peppers

  During the winter, I'm ALL about the comfort food. Anything hearty, warm, and full of carbs is what I crave. It's just a bonus when I can use the slow cooker! I am a big fan of the Chief Smokehouse Italian sausage links... have you tried them? We love to grill them up in the summer-time, and serve them on toasted buns with some spaghetti sauce. I'm not about to get out my grill in 12*F weather, so I put my slow cooker to work this weekend. Pan-seared sausages are cooked low & slow with sweet onions & bell peppers, in a rich tomato sauce full of basil. We served up the sausage pieces over pasta, but I've already got my eye on an Italian sub for leftovers tomorrow! FullSizeRender (50) I used a mixture of sweet and hot Italian sausages... cut them into thirds and give them a quick sear in a hot pan. Then place them in your slow cooker. Repeat with sliced onions and sliced bell peppers. IMG_3653 IMG_3654 Layer everything up and cover it with tomato sauce. A little bit of Italian seasoning, and let that slow cooker do its magic! IMG_3655 Soooo good! Add in some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil just before serving and you won't be disappointed.  

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage & Peppers

Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings

Difficulty

  • 3 lbs sweet or hot Italian sausage links
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers , thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 28-oz can tomato sauce
  • 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, finely chopped

Method

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Cut Italian sausage links into thirds. Place half the sausage pieces in the pan; brown about 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining sausages. Place the sausages in the bowl of a slow cooker.

2. Add another drizzle of vegetable oil to the pan; add the sliced onion. Season with salt & pepper and cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. Add to sausages in slow cooker.

3. Add the sliced bell pepper to the pan; cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant. Add to onions in slow cooker.

4. Pour tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes over sausages and vegetables in the slow cooker. Add Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes if desired. Cook on low 5-6 hours until Italian sausage is tender.

5. Just before serving, stir in Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve with pasta or on toasted buns with provolone cheese.

Source: adapted from Iowa Girl Eats