Apulian Sausage and Potato Casserole

Begin this Apulian one-pot entree by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly oiling an earthenware casserole dish. Ideally the casserole will have a lid but if not, cover dish tightly with aluminum foil before baking. A regular glass casserole dish may be used as well.
Add to the casserole: 5 or 6 chopped canned plum tomatoes along with about 2 cups sliced onions. If possible use a mixture of yellow and red onions in equal measure.

Now add 1 lb. of peeled potatoes, cut into slices 1/2" thick. Any sort will work here but Cafe Drake HRV uses Yukon Gold or red new potatoes. Toss all with 2 cloves of minced garlic, a large handful of roughly chopped parsley and 1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper - just sprinkle it over the contents - and drizzle over 1/4 cup water.

Add to the mixture 3/4 lb. crumbled fresh Italian sausage, either hot or sweet, removed from its casings and torn into small pieces. Give it a final mix and cover. Bake for 30 minutes, remove lid (or foil), sprinkle with an additional 1/4 cup cheese and cook for 30-40 minutes longer, uncovered.

The most extraordinary aspect of this recipe adapted from Joyce Goldstein's Italian: Slow and Savory (a kitchen shelf must-have volume for any Italian food lover) is the ease of preparation. Who doesn't love hands-off cooking? Once you've assembled the casserole you'll have ample time to tend to other matters, such as a green salad to serve following the main course and perhaps a simple cheese plate as a finale? Or take a walk! Leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave.


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