Aside from pasta, meatballs, scrumptious pastries and minestrone soup... what other flavors does your mind conjure up when you think of Italian foods? My mind zooms right in to peppers, onions and sausage.
It's been a long while since I prepared this dish, but one that my family always enjoyed. and because it is so darn cold today, I wanted to run the oven as much as I could and just stay put in the kitchen. First, I made some rosemary and basil foccaccio and for lunch today a small favorite casserole. I still had much in the frig from the childrens visit that I wanted to use up. Some sausage, roasted red peppers, onions, a half tub of ricotta cheese along with a bag of spinach. Usually I'd use hot Italian sausage in this dish, but I had on hand some homemade chicken and herb sausage that needed to be used up along with the last of my garden potatoes.
This is a very quick and easy meal to prepare, served with some warm crusty bread and big salad and a few glasses of Cab-- a perfect lucheon dish. The fragrance from the peppers, onions and rosemary combine to make this casserole amazing, both in smell and flavor!
Baked Peppers, Onion and Sausage Casserole
5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 TBLS butter, softened
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 TBLS olive oil
3 Italian sausage links, sliced into one inch pieces
3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme, rosemary and savory
sea salt & ground pepper
* Butter an ovenproof casserole dish and place potato slices across the bottom and along the sides of dish overlapping them. Reserve enough potato slices to encrust the top of finished casserole.
* Saute the pepper, onions, garlic in some olive oil until vegetables are softened, about five minutes. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned.
* Turn off the heat, stir in spinach,roasted red peppers, ricotta cheese, half the herb seasonings, sea salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let sit just a few minutes, or until the spinach wilts.
* Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the potato base crust. Add the cooked vegetable/sausage mixture and cover casserole with remaining potato slices. Drizzle just a bit more olive oil over all and sprinkle on the remaining herbs and grated cheese.
* Bake covered in a 400 degree oven for twenty minutes. Uncover casserole, and lower oven to 350 degrees and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve with a tossed salad and crusty bread. Lunch is served. Enjoy!