Monday, December 7, 2015

32. Spicy Italian Sausage and Yellow Pepper Tacos with Caprese Topping


I realize that this is the second processed meat taco that I've posted in a row (if you count the bacon that I included in the last one.)  Well . . . what can I say?  100 recipes is a lot!  I'll make a taco out of just about anything these days.  Ha ha.

Seriously, though, my next one will be vegetarian.  I think.  :)

For now, just picture a flavorful, hearty taco that will remind you of a lovely Italian meal that you once had and that will pair perfectly with a glass of red wine.  This is that taco!

I would have loved to make this with some kind of artisan Italian sausage, but that's not happening in my local grocery store, and I didn't have time to be picky and run up to Phoenix.  Oh, well.  These are pretty easy to throw together on a weeknight.  That's a plus!  :)

Here's the recipe:

Italian Sausage Tacos with Caprese Topping

Makes 8 generous tacos (4 servings)


For the balsamic drizzle:

½ cup balsamic vinegar

For the sausage filling:

2 tbsp. olive oil
One red onion, finely chopped
One yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 to 2 Fresno peppers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 lb. ground Italian sausage, crumbled
a few pinches of Italian seasoning

8 small flour tortillas 

About 8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese

About 1/2 lb. tomatoes, sliced and seasoned generously with olive oil, salt and pepper

A small bunch of basil, thinly sliced


1. Make the balsamic drizzle:  Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer until it has reduced by about half, about 5 to 10 minutes.  The vinegar should lightly coat a spoon.  Set aside.

2. Make the sausage filling:  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the yellow and Fresno peppers.  Continue to cook and stir until the peppers are softened, about 5 minutes.  Season with the salt.  

Add the sausage and Italian seasoning (to taste) and continue to cook and stir until the sausage is fully cooked and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Turn the broiler on.  Spray a large baking sheet (or two) with cooking spray.  For each taco, place a tortilla on the baking sheet.  Spoon a small amount of the sausage mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Sprinkle with some of the cheese.  

Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the tortilla is lightly toasted and the cheese is melted.  Unfortunately, I got distracted by something and walked away.  When I got back, mine looked like this:

Oops.  Well, I thought the tortillas were a bit too burned for my liking.  I put more plain tortillas under the broiler and toasted them just a bit.  Then, I carefully transferred the sausage and cheese to the new tortillas and proceeded with the recipe.  If you could skip this step by simply NOT burning the tortillas, I would.  :)

4. Finish assembling the tacos:  Place the toasted tortillas with the sausage and cheese topping on plates.  Top with a few slices of tomato and some of the sliced basil.  Drizzle with the reduced balsamic and enjoy!  :)

We really enjoyed these!   The fresh Fresno peppers added some nice heat.  I suppose I could have just used spicy sausage, but I liked the fresh peppers!

I also thought the balsamic drizzle on top of the Caprese topping was just the right touch.  It added a bit of sweetness, which was a nice contrast to the savory sausage. 

And, just in case you were wondering, these tacos do indeed go nicely with red wine.  We had a Cabernet.  I would definitely recommend a glass on the side!  :)

There's not much else to say - they were very tasty!  I think I would do anything differently - aside from NOT burning the first set of tortillas.  Ha ha.  Well, you do get full disclosure with these recipes.  I'll definitely tell you if I mess something up!  
Please feel free to comment - and let me know what you think if you try them.  :)

Thanks for reading! 

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