Mario Batali has made a name for himself in the culinary world, one bucatini all’Amatriciana at a time.
The chef is a proponent of traditional and regional Italian cooking across multiple restaurants, cookbooks and TV shows (his latest, “Moltissimo,” just launched on Vice).
That made him a natural pick as one of the Columbus Citizens Foundation’s honorees at this year’s Columbus Day Parade, which marches up Fifth Avenue on Oct. 10.
Batali will lead the parade alongside other honorees.
In honor of the Italian-American heritage celebration, here’s a recipe from Batali fitting for the occasion: sausage and pepper hero.
“What’s more emblematic of Italian-American culture than this dish?,” Batali said. “Sausage and peppers speaks to the vast culture of southern Italy — one of the most vibrant populations that has immigrated to America.”
For the recipe, Batali recommends using the hottest sausages you can stand (make sure there are fennel seeds in them, too) and the best bread you can find.
Sausage and pepper hero
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 links fresh hot or sweet Italian sausages
1 medium red onion, cut into 1⁄4-in. dice
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1⁄2-in. dice
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1⁄2-in. dice
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1⁄2 cup dry red wine
Best-quality long sub roll or baguette
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1⁄2 lb. best-quality mozzarella, thinly sliced
In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until they are browned, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate. Add the onion, peppers, red pepper flakes, anchovies, and thyme to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and wine and bring to a boil. Return the sausages to the pan, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes, then flip the sausages and cook for 10 minutes more. At this point, you can hold the mixture on the stove for up to 2 hours.
An hour before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cut the sub roll/baguette into 4-inch pieces and split them, with the back side attached to hold the sauce. Place a sausage and 2 tablespoons of the pepper mixture into each piece. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmigiano and add 2 slices of mozzarella to each. Individually wrap the subs loosely in foil. Place the assembled subs in the oven for 40 minutes or until ready to eat. Even an hour later, they will be great.