Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

Earlier this spring I was contacted by Erika Kerekes with Deluxe Corporation, based in Shoreview MN, wanting to know if I could help put together an event for one of their clients, a local Denver sausage maker. Kathy Laurienti, the owner wanted to introduce their newest product, a dry Italian sausage that they sell along with fresh Italian sausage under the Paisano Sausage Company label. Luckily for everyone involved, I coordinate a local group of bloggers who meet once a month; I knew I could find a willing crew to participate.

Italian Sausage

Kathy’s late husband started the company over thirty years ago and she has been a part of this family owned business for many years. Upon his death last year, it fell on her to take over the reins of the operation. Not content to just do business as usual, Kathy decided to start producing a dry Italian sausage in addition to the fresh Italian sausage she produces daily.

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

On the day of our visit, 20 of us were invited into the heart of their operations and I think I speak for everyone that the cleanliness of their production facility was impressive. I was also a bit surprised but I can’t deny equally impressed that a health inspector inspects her facility every weekday before they start production. If we had visited during a production day we would all have been required to ‘suit up’ and wear a coat and hair net. I am glad we went on a Saturday. 🙂

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

I made a second trip to see the sausage being made and pick up the packages promised to the members of our group. That’s Kathy on the left and I wish I had a more glamorous shot of her; I took more but she’s constantly moving and she was a blur in every photo; still the eyelashes tell the story enough, right? I’ve actually thought of making sausage myself and certainly followed a number of people who did for the Charcutepalooza event last year; looked easy enough but then their equipment might be a far cry above my KitchenAid attachment!

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

The process for making both the fresh and dry sausage is similar but once completed, the dry version is salted and hung in their drying facility for at least 19 days. Once that time has elapsed and the moisture is removed, this sausage needs no refrigeration and is perfect not just for use at home as a snack or appetizer, but a great addition to trips away from home. If I were prone to hike I know it would be perfect. Since I’m not, I went the appetizer route and served it with these savory crackers and wine. Prepared with both mild and hot seasonings it was the perfect accompaniment for savory crackers with some jam and of course…wine! Kathy’s Italian sausage is primarily provided to local restaurants and one specialty meat store in the Denver area but their dry product is available online for shipping to the continental US.

After our groups tour of the facility we got on to the fun stuff; the food! Kathy had arranged varieties of her dry sausage for tasting with some unexpected elements for dipping. Marshmallow fluff? Caramel? Yes, there were savory offerings too but the sweet ones were unexpected and surprisingly good. I’m not sure why I questioned that…I sure love most anything with a combination of sweet and some heat! I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of dry sausage…opting to never have pepperoni on my pizza even, but this was good and the hotter version has a nice kick.

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

I opted to do my own version of the sausage and peppers that Kathy served our group using her fresh Italian sausage. As a card carrying member of the ‘Green Pepper Haterz Club’ I just had to substitute something for those green bell peppers and in the making ended up with a much different dish. Kathy had sent each of us home with a basketful of goodies so I also wanted to incorporate some of the other local products she had given us including the Aiello’s spaghetti sauce and Balistreri Vineyards Sangiovese wine.

Was it so good because I was a part of the process and got to see it being made? As unique and fun as that was I don’t think so…it’s just great sausage. Most of their fresh Italian sausage is produced and sold to local restaurants (the one local retail outlet is Vinnola’s Italian Market in Wheat Ridge, CO) so I feel particularly blessed that we were given some to play with. I just happened to have some Tillamook Monterey Jack Cheese on hand which was perfect for this sandwich. You might not be lucky enough to have some of Kathy’s sausage in your neighborhood but just find some good fresh sausage and try this sandwich; it’s a keeper!

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

Not in Denver? Be sure to visit their online store if you love dry sausage; it’s made with care and it shows.

[mpprecipe-recipe:5835]

 

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29 Comments

  1. Gorgeous sausage really is a one of life’s great happy bites. You were lucky to get such a first look at the process. Also, thanks for your nice message today. It helped me over a hump. GREG

    1. My pleasure Greg; I love to know I’m not alone in my flying by the seat of my pants food blogging. Make it, bake it, photo it, eat it. The only time it’s a problem is when I need to get a cocktail made, it’s 10am and I have to work…no drinky for me. 🙁

      Looking forward to your book…don’t let the process drive you crazy though…try to enjoy it!

  2. I’m plotzing. This is an amazing sandwich and the ingredients do sound fabulous. Man, those dried sausages sound fantastic and just my kind of thing…and the pralines? I must try that! Wow! I don’t cook often enough with sausages but this is the kind of sandwich I love eating when I get to the US. Now I have a recipe….my men will go nuts!

    1. I don’t cook with sausage like this often enough either but that is going to change; this fresh sausage is sooooo good; now I’m totally spoiled.

    1. I haven’t had this for so long…you know, one of those dishes you love and forget why you never make it? Kathy’s sausage is SO good I think I’ll become her south Denver distributor so I always have some on hand.

    1. Well I just visited your site and I’m totally craving lemon bars; I mean I’m making some in a few moments type of craving! Thanks for visiting.

    1. Thank you Karen. I won’t deny…it is always nice to have the food I make be appealing but getting a compliment on a photo? I’m a cook so learning how to photograph food has been quite the journey; still have a long way to go but when someone is so kind it affects me more than you loving the food!

  3. Fresh Italian sausage and peppers with Tillamook Pepper Jack? Yes, please! Received some of Kathy’s dry sausage at Camp Blogaway – sooo good! I’d love to try some of their fresh Italian sausage some time. My goal this year is to make my own sausage that’s low sodium (for hubs) – I need to visit some of the people from Charcutepalooza.

    1. Did you have a dish with some turkey sausage in it? I was not aware of it when I first heard she had sent sausage to Camp Blogaway and assumed she had only sent the dry sausage but just talked to her on the phone and she sent some of the fresh stuff too. Just love it…she’s not working on some Polish sausage; I might love it even more than Italian sausage!

  4. This looks delicious Barb! Great job! That sausage is amazing and so darn fresh! I think we are all spoiled now 😉

    I served the dried sausage as an appetizer for my Cinco de Mayo fiesta with some crackers and cheese and it was a hit. Everyone loved it!!!

    1. I haven’t asked Kathy but see no reason why ‘we’ couldn’t become regular customers. We are spoiled…I see no getting around that and don’t want to, do you? 🙂

    1. I sure plan to experiment Hannah. I don’t think I’ve ever used Italian sausage for anything but a sandwich so now I’ve got to get creative. Which should be fun, huh? 🙂

    1. Thanks Wendy; we had such a good time and really love supporting a local company; so easy when you REALLY love their products!

  5. Oh my gosh, this sandwich is sooooo delicious and I know by first hand experience. I’m so glad I now have your recipe. Thank goodness I still have some sausage left to make it with! Your photos are just fantastic.

    Thanks so much for the shout out Barb. Those darned pralines . . . YUM! It’s a good thing I’m out of sausage or I’d be making some more as we speak.

    1. I think I have more and I think I might have to do my own candy experiment or at the very least replicate yours. So damn good!

  6. What a nice write up about Kathy and her business. Good for her for not only carrying on the family business after she lost her husband but also for being innovative and creating the dry sausage line. I was amazed to hear that the Health Inspector inspects her facilities every weekday! There are so many food processing/serving places around and such a shortage of inspectors!

    The sandwich you created looks wonderful and filling!

    1. We loved Kathy; as a matter of fact a couple of us are planning on dinner with her soon; I too admired her spirit and work ethic. I bet they could live without that inspector every day; especially after seeing how immaculate their facility is; but it’s certainly a nice feeling for the consumer to know that they pass an inspection EVERY day. Still amazed Paula!

    1. High praise indeed coming from one who does not eat meat…thanks Brian. And yes…I could have sold my home easy on that day! 🙂

    1. I love the opportunities our group gets to get involved with the community, whether through restaurant tastings or events like this. Seeing the insides of any food operation is always great fun; being together with a group that shares your passion makes it even more so.

  7. What an interesting peek inside the sausage making process. Lots and lots of folks around here make sausage, but it’s rare to get a look into their process. Great information, Barb, and what an amazing recipe. OMG, I can’t wait to try this sandwich!

    1. I think it says a lot about their confidence in their operations that we were allowed inside. Karen and I went back just the two of us for pickup…it wasn’t all for show either, just as impressed on that day. Plus we love Kathy; she has a great story and a great spirit.

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