Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Italian Sausage and Shiitake Sloppy Joes

Like most people, I loved sloppy joes as a kid, but as an adult, I no longer find the combination of Manwich and ground beef so appealing-Manwich is just way too sweet (not to mention unhealthy) for me to eat now. I've made my own ground beef sloppy joes from scratch before, loading them peppers, onions, and spices, for a delicious and nostalgic dinner, but I thought it would be fun to make a more sophisticated, flavorful, adult version of the sloppy joe. I had some absolutely incredible Italian sausage from Pecatonica Valley Farm and shiitake mushrooms, both acquired at the farmer's market, so I only had to combine them in tomato sauce with just a bit of salt and pepper for some incredible sandwiches. (If you don't have wonderfully flavored Italian sausage, you may want to add some oregano, basil, fennel, Italian seasoning or other spices to punch up the flavor.) This dish is tremendously simple and pays you may times over for your efforts in flavor, so indulge your inner child and sophisticated adult sides with this meal tonight.

Italian Sausage and Shiitake Sloppy Joes
serves 4

8 ounces bulk Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced
8 ounce can tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole-grain hamburger buns

1. Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to pan and break up into small pieces. Once the sausage has started to render some fat, add the onion and cook until onions are just starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced shiitakes and continue to cook until the Italian sausage has cooked through and mushrooms are tender, but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato sauce and continue to cook over low to medium-low heat until mushrooms are cooked to desired tenderness and flavors are blended. Season mixture to taste with salt and black pepper, divide mixture evenly among buns, and serve hot.

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