Appetizers for Dinner: Fillo Cups with Italian Sausage, Pine Nuts & Yellow Bell Pepper

I am so busy these days I don’t even have time to make full-sized food. That’s right it’s appetizer-sized portions for breakfast, lunch & dinner, and no one’s complaining. I am sorta kidding but not really.

Take these tasty little bites: Fillo Cups with Italian Sausage, Pine Nuts & Yellow Bell Pepper. I made them because I wanted (no needed) to bring something new and luscious right here to the pages of my blog. I knew you were getting hungry and maybe even a little ornery. Because 3 days without a new post is almost as stressful to me as an unmade bed. I cannot concentrate if there is even one single unmade bed in my house. I bet you are the same way, huh?

Oh and don’t get me started on a fully stocked underwear drawer. If I don’t have at least three pairs of clean undies in my top drawer I get positively antsy. I mean you never know what the day might hold.

But I have digressed royally!

I am here to convince you that appetizers make great blog posts and they can also be dinner. I mean how chic would it be to sit around in your kaftan sipping something sophisticated and nibbling on these Fillo Cups with Italian Sausage, Pine Nuts & Yellow Bell Pepper. Lest you think this is just my excuse for extending cocktail hour I’ll have you know, these little hors d’oeuvres make a great meal… I mean all the major food groups are represented, right?

So Cheers! I mean Bon Appetit… just make sure you have plenty of clean undies and we’ll all be fine. GREG

Fillo Cups with Italian Sausage, Pine Nuts & Yellow Bell Pepper makes 48 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 4 sheets fillo dough
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 c cored, seeded & finely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 2 clv garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 lb italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 T minced chives, plus more as garnish
  • 3 oz feta cheese crumbled

Prepare the fillo cups: Place the oven rack in the center position. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay the fillo sheets flat on a cutting in front of you; all 4 stacked on top each other. Using a very sharp knife and a straight edge, trim them together as a group into a 12 x 16-inches rectangle. Discard trimmings. Then cut the stacked sheets into 48 two-inch squares, four layers thick. Leave them in place, cover them completely with plastic wrap topped with a barely damp dish towel. Pull out only as many squares as you can work with to keep them from drying out.

Brush the bottom and side of each opening of four 12 portion mini-muffin tins. Mold one 2‑inch square of fillo into the bottom of each opening of the tins. Brush with butter and repeat three more times, using all 192 two-inch squares. Don’t worry if the tear or fold while you work. They will form a solid cup once baked. You may work in batches if you only have 1 or 2 muffin tins.

Bake in the heated oven until crisp and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool on a rack before removing the fillo cups from the tins.

The fillo cups may be prepared up to 3 days in advance, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Prepare the filling: Warm the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the onions have softened some, about 4 minutes. Add the crumbled sausage and oregano to the skillet. Cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until it is browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the pine nuts, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons minced chives and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.

The filling may be prepared the day before. In which case do not add the 2 tablespoons chives or final 1/4 teaspoon salt. At assembly time gently reheat the sausage mixture with a teaspoon of water. Add the chives and salt once the mixture is at serving temperature.

To assemble: Place a heaping teaspoon of the sausage filling into each fillo cup. Top with a bit of feta, and a more chives. Serve warm.

NOTE: You may also fill the cups without the feta and chive garnish up to 1 hour in advance. Then warm them in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes. Top with the feta and chive garnish right before serving.

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in PanamaCosta Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.

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  • Look for Greg’s book Savory Pies coming Nov 2012, from Ulysses Press