From the Chef: Potatoes and Sausage Il Forno (Baked)

Potato_and_Sausage_Il_Forno

By Mark Marques

I came up with this easy meal as an alternative to the classic lasagne for people that have gluten allergies or for those that want a baked meal that is a bit different, but completely delicious!

It is fairly easy to make, not a lot of cooking skills required, but it comes out just beautiful and bubbly. It has a crispy, crumbly top that can be added even for those with gluten allergies. It freezes beautifully after baking and the left overs, if there are any, taste better the next day! If you want to bring this to your next pot luck or family get together on a Sunday evening, it will be a great hit! And if you have questions or need any special requests or have any questions, please send your inquires to The Las Vegas Informer! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Lbs. Russet Skin or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 Lbs. Italian Sausage (Hot preferred or use Sweet)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • ½ Cup Condensed Milk or ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion sliced thinly
  • 1 Bell Pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Teaspoon Fresh Basil chopped into ribbons
  • ½ Teaspoon Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Cup seasoned bread crumbs (Gluten Free if required) 
  • 1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ Stick Butter melted
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper (fresh ground)

Potato_and_Sausage_Il_Forno2

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes thinly into long planks, a mandolin does this quite well or use a sharp knife, place potatoes in water to keep from browning. Set aside.

Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter together and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, brown sausage well. Remove from heat and stir in garlic and the herbs. Set aside.

Lightly oil or vegetable spray a large Pyrex baking dish or lasagna pan, place a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the dish, lightly salt and pepper the potatoes.

Place a third of the onions and peppers on the potatoes, then place a third of the sausage mixture on top, then layer a third of the cheeses on top.

Place another layer of potatoes, peppers and onions, sausage and cheese, be sure to salt and pepper each layer of potatoes.

You should finish the top layer with a layer of potatoes. (If you have extra potatoes, store in cold water in the fridge and use for another recipe.)

In a corner of the pan, gently pour the milk into the potatoes layers. On top of the last layer of potatoes, evenly spread the bread crumb mixture over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes to brown the top. Once done, let the dish sit for 5-10 minutes to let everything set up.

Serve with a nice tossed salad, some crusty Italian bread and a lightly chilled red wine like be a Merlot, a Zinfandel or your favorite crisp blended wine. Serves 4-6 people.

Hints – If used dried herbs, cut the amounts used in half. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh. You can also use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk. You can also use different colored peppers for a better color. If you want to add veggies to the dish, please do so. I would recommend blanched kale, chopped spinach, diced artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, or green peas. Use any or all of them.

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square,  the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas.  Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.

 

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