Come late summer, every Monday my coworker brings the bounty of her garden to the office to share. Peppers of all hues and sizes, eggplants like amethyst globes, dragon's egg cucumbers, gorgeous, leafy kale.
One of the quick dinners I love to make with some of my coworker's homegrown veggies is this dish. It's so vibrant with color and the unique taste of fresh vegetables not bought from the store. Together with the spicy sausage, the sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the farro that anchors the entire dish – you have a simple, filling meal full of bold taste.
You could saute all the ingredients together but I prefer to cook them separately but in the same pan, to each ingredient's desired doneness, while building layer upon layer of taste. Because each ingredient cooks with different time lengths, the order you cook them is important.
If you don't have cooked farro at hand, I suggest buying 10-minute farro (I got my 8.8 oz package at Trader Joe's) and boiling the entire contents while cooking the rest.
Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers with Farro
4 cups cooked farro
4 small red bell peppers julienned
4 small yellow bell peppers julienned
8 big full leaves of kale in a chiffonade
1 medium yellow onion sliced into medium-thin half-moons
4 cooked spicy Italian chicken sausages, sliced into diagonal pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1. Heat the olive oil on a large skillet on medium heat.
2. Once heated, spread yellow onion slices to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. They need to brown a bit – not too much – but enough so they are translucent and slightly sweet, about 10 minutes. Saute at least once.
3. Once the onions have caramelized, take out of the pan, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible, and into a large bowl.
4. Next place the sausage pieces onto the skillet, with the cut sides down. Do not saute, but just brown each side, then take out and place in the large bowl with the onions.
5. Hopefully there's a little bit of oil left (not too much because you want to quickly sear the peppers, not drown them in oil). Turn up the heat to medium-high.
6. Once the skillet is hot, place all your julienned bell peppers onto the skillet so that they cover the bottom in one layer. You want to just barely cook them. They should have a bit of brown char but still crispy and vibrant with color. Do not overcook, as you don't want them faded and limp. Take out of the skillet and put into the large bowl on top of the sausage slices & onions.
7. If there is only a little bit of oil left at this point, that's okay. But if the pan is dry, just drop a whisper of olive oil in it and turn the heat back to medium.
8. Now come your mounds of chiffonade kale with a pinch or two of salt. Do not cook too long, you just want them limp and darkened with that lovely emerald green color. Take out quickly once limp before the color fades.
To plate it I prefer once again to layer. First comes the warm, cooked farro; then the bell peppers; next the sausages; then the kale; and then crown it all with some onion slices.