Pair shrimp, sausage for easy holiday party food

With the holidays getting into full swing, life for most of us is getting hectic.

This dish — my Italian take on surf and turf — is ridiculously easy to make (especially if you use jarred roasted red peppers) and involves just seven ingredients, not counting salt and pepper. But I’ll confess I stole the basic premise — the shrimp and sausage part — from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Bruce Aidells.

The two proteins meld wonderfully when baked. This is such an impressive trick and looks so clever, it makes the perfect appetizer or hors d’oeuvres for a holiday party.

You will need to use fresh (not dried, cured or cooked) sausage for the shrimp and sausage to stick together.

I gilded this Italian surf and turf with a red pepper sauce. Pureed roasted red peppers make a thick, rich sauce all by themselves; I just intensified the flavor with a bit of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. There are excellent brands of jarred roasted peppers at the supermarket, but avoid any packed in oil.

Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”

Italian Surf and Turf With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Makes 16 shrimp. Recipe is by Sara Moulton.

16 peeled and deveined large raw shrimp (about 8 to 10 ozs.)

6 ozs. hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage meat (about 2 links)

2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 tbl. chopped fresh oregano

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

1 tbl. balsamic vinegar

1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

2. Arrange shrimp on prepared baking sheet with all shrimp facing the same direction to form a series of Cs. Remove casings from sausage, place a small mound of sausage in the center of each shrimp and press down so shrimp and sausage filling make a solid round.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with half the garlic and all of the oregano. Sprinkle the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, then brush the oil mixture over the shrimp and sausage. Bake the stuffed shrimp until they are cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine red peppers, remaining tablespoon of oil, remaining garlic, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat just until hot.

5. To serve, arrange shrimp on a serving platter, then drizzle each with some of the sauce.

Nutrition information per shrimp: 170 calories (50 calories from fat = 29 percent of total calories); 5 grams fat (0 gram saturated; 0 gram trans fats); 130 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrate (1 gram fiber; 4 grams sugar); 22 grams protein; 710 milligrams sodium.