The Final Four is set; Louisville versus Wichita State, Michigan versus Syracuse. One would think it would be tough planning a menu that would appeal to all four regions and all four student bodies, but really, it isn't. What student hasn't ordered a late-night pizza and what student hasn't rushed for the sloppy joe line in the cafeteria. Combine the two and you have a sandwich that appeals to everyone and customizable for any sort of dietary want from meat eaters to vegans. And even better yet, it appeals those who don't even like cheese, like our own fearless leader. (Our condolences to Spencer for the brutal loss suffered by his beloved Gators.)
STEP 1) First, obviously, we'll need our blender.
STEP 2) Depending on how many margaritas you are making and how slushy you like your cocktail, fill your blender almost to the top with ice. Add a 2:1 ratio of tequila to triple sec, some fresh lime juice and if you like your drink sweet, some aguve syrup or sweetened lime juice. Blend. Serve and garnish with a lime wedge.
Well, now the blender is dirty and we still need to make our pizza sloppy joes. No worries, a good sharp knife can make a fine dice out of anything, as does a mandoline or a food processor. No need to use the blender other than for more margaritas.
STEP 3) Go ahead and forget to take a group shot of all of the ingredients since you're already tipsy from the margaritas.
This is what we used in our pizza sloppy joes.
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed (Sweet also works just fine.)
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, washed and dried
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
2-3 ounces sliced pepperoni
1/4-1/3 cup sliced black olives
5-6 basil leaves
In a large skillet, break apart the sausage and brown the meat over medium heat. Don't worry if it starts to stick to the pan, we'll deglaze the bottom soon enough with vegetables containing moisture that help lift the nice brown bits from the bottom.
STEP 4) Make a fine dice of green pepper and the onion. See? No need for our blender.
STEP 5) Toss the onions and peppers in with the sausage. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until vegetables have grown tender, scraping the bottom of the pan every so often.
STEP 6) While the sausage, onions and peppers are cooking, mix together the tomato sauce, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, sugar and cracked pepper in a small sauce pan. Gently heat to a low boil and simmer for a few minutes to thicken what will be our sloppy joe binding agent -- the Dickie V. ingredient, if you will -- that will bring our sandwiches all together.
STEP 7) Mince the mushrooms and add to the skillet. Cook until the moisture burns off.
STEP 8) Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the tomato sauce to the skillet and reduce the heat to low.
STEP 9) Place the pepperoni between a couple of paper towels in a single layer and microwave for a minute or two until cooked as not to have overly-greasy sloppy joes. (Sorry Louisville, fans.) Dice the pepperoni and add to the skillet along with the sliced olives. Cook for another few minutes and then remove from heat.
STEP 10) Chiffonade the remaining basil and stir it into the sloppy joe mix.
STEP 11) Serve. If you want to be even more indulgent, toast the buns with garlic butter. (Go ahead Wichita State fans, admit that you already thought of doing this. We don't judge.)
Confused? Are you hungry after this Spillymeal for the first time...ever? Remedy that immediately over at Kissing Suzy Kolber. Big thanks to Sarah Sprague for playing along with our April Fool's prank and providing today's actual edible meal. As always you can view her Football Foodie column here, or older stuff at sarahsprague.com.