Too Cold to Grill Outside? Try Italian Sausages Baked in the Oven – Perhaps with a Side of Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage . . . Two Ideas Too Easy to Even Be Called ‘Recipes’!

Sausages cooked this way make excellent grinders, subs or po’boys!!

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I was pleased with how delicious these oven-baked Italian sausages turned out!  As you can see in the photo, the sausages were brown and juicy.  I am never again going to bother browning sausages in a skillet again!  No matter how hard I tried, even with a splatter guard, I’d always end up with grease splattered all over my kitchen.

To cook sausages in the oven, simply place sausages on a broiler pan and pierce each one a few times with a sharp knife.  Bake at 400 (F) for 30 minutes.  (It sure beats making a big mess!)

++ Line the bottom of the broiler pan with foil for an easy clean up.         

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 ++  If you don’t own a broiler pan, line a cookie sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top. cooling rack

 

 

Place broiler pan containing sausages in a preheated 400(F) degree oven for 30 minutes.  ++  Don’t forget to ‘prick’ the sausages at least on one side so the fat can drain out.

You can turn the sausages once, but it’s not necessary. I turned them the first time I tried this, the day before Christmas, but yesterday I forgot simply because I was on my computer .. checking on ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’.

++  If you do turn the sausages, you might want to cook them a bit longer – until both sides are nicely browned and crisped, but its not necessary.

I prepared a spaghetti sauce last night with some of the oven baked Italian sausages (I used both sweet and hot), plus the ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’. I’m keeping some of the sauce for myself and sharing some with one of my neighbors. She’s Italian-American – I hope she likes it!!   

How to Prepare ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’

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Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

I think you’ll like the earthy flavor the dried sage adds to this dish.  And a bit of balsamic adds a whole other level of flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 (16 oz.) package sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms  
  • 2 Tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. dried sage 
  • 1 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • freshly ground pepper 

++ See if you can find a package of good-sized Baby Bella Mushrooms.  The ones I found were large and meaty, a bit like Portabella mushrooms. In fact, Portabella mushrooms would be wonderful prepared this way!

Put 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet.  Allow butter and olive oil to heat a bit before adding 16 oz. sliced Baby Bella (or Portabella) mushrooms.  Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms begin to soften.

Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

Add 2 Tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar and 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. dried sage, 1 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley and some freshly ground pepper. 

Continue to cook just a few minutes more, stirring often, until mushrooms are fully cooked.  That’s it!!  

++ Don’t make the mistake of over-cooking mushrooms.  If juice starts pouring out of the mushrooms, you’ve cooked them too long.

A terrific hogie, sub or po’boy can be made with a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage and these mushrooms. Or, the sausages and mushrooms could be added to a big pot of spaghetti sauce, as I did last night. (I’m planning to serve ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’ as a side for a nice, fat steak or a juicy chicken breast.)  Enjoy!

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Quick ‘n Easy Oven Baked Italian Sausage
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Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

 

Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken

++ The casserole in the photo was prepared using approximately 1/2 of my Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken.

Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken was inspired by  ” jjbegonia’s Weeknight Chicken Riggies”.     http://jjbegonia.com/2013/11/04/weeknight-chicken-riggies/ 

++ Update – December 2013

My sons and their families spent the weekend of December 15th  here at my farmhouse, and we celebrated our ‘Roy Christmas’.  We had so much fun being together – and this year there’s a new baby in the family!!   (Our ‘Roy Christmas’ is usually two weeks before Christmas Day because one of my sons lives several states away.)  I served Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken, as well as Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pies – of course! 

I’ve made three changes to the Rotini recipe simply because, like most people who love to cook, I really enjoy fiddling with recipes.   So – now you have two ways to prepare this dish !

1.  I took the casings off the Italian sausage and cooked the loose sausage-meat.

2.  Instead of three boneless chicken breasts – I used one (1 1/2 lb.) package of chicken breast tenders, cut into 1″ pieces.

3.  I added 1 (small) box of cherry tomatoes, cut in half.   

This is a great pasta dish to make for guests because it’s yummy & it makes a lot !  And – the best part – you can prepare ahead and easily keep it warm in the oven, which gives you time to enjoy yourself.

I add red wine to my sauce. BUT, if you skip the red wine and add a bit of vodka, you have a delicious “Vodka Sauce”. Believe me, you won’t taste the vodka –  it just gives the sauce another layer of flavor.  Whether you add red wine or vodka, the alcohol content completely disappears during cooking, so there’s no concern about serving this dish to nondrinkers or children.

+ Recipe feeds approximately 6 – 7 people

+ To make less – prepare half the recipe, which is shown in the photo at the top of the page.

+ I kept the Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken warm and also served it from one of those ‘portable ovens’. I highly recommend acquiring one if you entertain often. (They’re pretty inexpensive !!)

This isn’t a great photo – there was a lot going on, so I didn’t have to time to ‘light the shot’.  Rotini with Italian Sausage and Chicken - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Ingredients and Method

  • 1 to 1 /14 boxes — (16 oz.) Rotini, cooked al dente      ++ I.E. – the center of the pasta should be chewy… not soft.)   ++ There’s plenty of sauce if you chose to cook 1 1/4 boxes.)
  • 2 packages (14 oz) Italian sausage — 1 HOT  &  SWEET – cut into chunks.   (Or – take the meat out of the casings and cook it loose.)
  •  olive oil – you’ll need several tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts – cut into bite-sized chunks.    OR 1 package ( 1 1/2 lbs.) chicken breasts tenders.
  • 1 large green pepper, roughly chopped or sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped or sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped or sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 jars (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce   (I like ‘Bertolli Tomato & Basil’.)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine …..  OR  ….. 1/4 vodka   Feel free to add more wine or vodka ‘to taste’
  • OPTIONAL – 1 (small) box of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 to 1 cup HEAVY cream    (Light cream works just as well….)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped   ++ Add as much, or as little, basil as you like!
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese – to sprinkle on top

Method

Cut sausage into chunks (or, take meat out of the sausage casings).    Set aside.   Cut 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1″ pieces – set aside.

 Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce and Italian Sausage and Chicken

Chop (or slice) 1 large red pepper, 1 large green pepper & 1 large onion.   Set aside.   Mince 3 cloves garlic – set aside.

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Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet. Brown sausage pieces (or loose sausage meat). ++  The sausage does NOT need to be fully cooked. It’s going to cook more in the sauce. Place the browned sausage into a large saucepan or stockpot.

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Remove most of the fat left in the frying pan – but not all.

Deglaze the skillet with 1/2 cup water.  Add the chicken chunks and simmer (uncovered) for 4 – 5 minutes – stirring often – until chicken is no longer pink. ++ Don’t overcook chicken – you don’t want tough chicken!   Place cooked chicken (and any juices) in the stockpot already containing the cooked sausage.

Now add a few tablespoons olive oil to your frying pan. Cook the chopped (or sliced) pepper and onions until they are crisp tender.  Add 3 cloves minced garlic and cook another minute or so.

Place the cooked onions, peppers and garlic in the stockpot containing the cooked sausage and chicken.

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Add to the stockpot;   2 jars (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 cup red wine ( OR  ….. 1/4 cup vodka ) and 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  (Optional – 1 (small) box cherry tomatoes, cut in half.)  

Simmer – uncovered – for 1/2 hour, stirring often so the sauce doesn’t stick.     ++ While sauce is simmering – cook Rotini according to package directions.

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After simmering sauce gently for a half hour, add 3/4 – 1 cup cream. (Any type of cream will do !) Simmer on low for 1 – 2 minutes. ++ Be sure to ‘simmer’ – you don’t want to curdle the cream!   Add 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil. ++ I like to add the basil at the last minute so you really get all the fabulous fresh basil flavor, which seems to ‘get lost’ if it’s cooked too long.

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 Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce and Italian Sausage and Chicken

+ These two photos show only HALF the recipe

Place the cooked and drained Rotini into a large serving bowl or casserole.

Add the creamy red sauce – mix until well-blended. Sprinkle on 1/3 – 1/2  freshly grated Parmesan cheese – and serve.

Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce with Italian Sausage and ChickenOr………you can bake your Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, uncovered, at 350F for 15 – 20 minutes, which actually intensifies the flavor.

If you want to keep your Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce warm for a while – just lower the heat to 225F & cover the casserole with aluminum foil.        Andiamo a mangiare !