Sausage and Summer Veggie Casserole
From the Honeymoon Kitchen
Alright, almost 2 weeks after our anniversary, I’ve finally gotten my act together to tell you all about it. The hold ups were various, but one big one was the fact that I couldn’t bear to post about it without first editing and including these fabulous pics:
Omg, could those babies be any cuter if they tried??? They were utterly uninterested in John and I, but once the farm dog in the second pic came out, they were at the fence in an instant.
So yeah, we spent our second anniversary at a family farm in Wisconsin. More specifically, we spent a few days in Madison, home town of John’s alma mater, and on our way home we stopped at Trautman Family Farm. Technically this farm only has official visiting hours on Saturdays and Wednesdays, but I emailed the farmer and he was kind enough to let us stop by on Tuesday anyhow. We missed out on the formal group tour, but he was more than happy to let us wander around the property on our own and chat up his farm hands. It’s worth noting that this is NOT something a commercial farm would EVER let someone do – if you saw the way commercially raised animals live you would surely never eat meat again. But this awesome farm had nothing to be ashamed of. Even their pigsty was odor-free because the pigs live free-range, foraging grasses and insects, rather than confined to one, gross area. He also explained to us that their baby cows stay at mom’s side for 3 months, nursing as a baby cow should. Apparently big commercial operations feed the babies FORMULA because they don’t want to “waste” milk that they could be selling on the baby cow it was intended for. Ugh. I could go on forever, but I’ll spare you my rant. Basically, this farm was awesome and we were more than happy to pay a premium for this awesome set of spoils.
If you’re confused about the Ground Beef Organs (as everyone I’ve shown this pic to is), the farmer recommended that we thaw them, then re-freeze in ice cube trays. Then whenever we make burgers, meat sauce, meatloaf, etc, we can add a cube of this super nutritious, richly flavored meat to the mix.
Now, unfortunately, the last few weeks have been pretty hectic and we haven’t even had a chance to cook with any of our goodies (although we have almost finished the half gallon of milk, which John LOVES). But we made this recipe a few weeks ago, and had we known, I bet it would have been totally awesome with Mr. Trautman’s Italian sausage. We did make it with a lot of veggies from our own garden and our CSA, so I think it definitely embodies the spirit of the post – eat local, and if you can, shake the hand of the guy (or gal) who grew your food!
I just had to post this adorable pic of the stuffing stuffed into something – 8-ball squashes in this case. Sadly, we liked it a lot better on its own, as the squash “bowl” watered down the flavor a lot. But if you really really love stuff stuffed into other stuff, all you have to do is microwave the squash for a few minutes to par-cook it, and then proceed with the recipe as written, subbing the squash for the baking dish.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage, removed from the casings (we used the hot variety, because that’s how we roll)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped pretty small
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped pretty small
- 1/4 cup shallot, chopped pretty small
- 1 cup summer squash, chopped pretty small (we used little yellow round squashes, but any yellow squash or zucchini would work well)
- 3/4 cup cooked rice (we used a brown rice / wild rice blend)
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce (we used a tomato basil variety)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup basil, minced
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (we used whole wheat, but panko or any other type would work well)
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add sausage and saute, using a wooden spoon to break the meat up. When the meat is about halfway browned, add the garlic. Continue sauteing until meat is browned. Use a slotted spoon to move the sausage to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the sausage drippings and heat over medium high.
- Add peppers, onions and shallots. Saute 3 minutes, then add squash and saute 2 more minutes.
- Pour veggies into bowl with sausage.
- Add rice, tomato sauce, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish.
- Combine breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Bake 20 minutes. Turn oven to broil and cook 1-2 more minutes, until topping is golden.