I am sure you have heard me say many times that pork is king here in Umbria and in general we do eat a lot more pork than beef, lamb, or other types of meats. It is pretty common to find roasted sausages on almost every casual restaurant menu here, and the sausages are really delicious. Having made our own sausages many times in the past, we are always trying to determine why sausages here in Umbria just taste so darn good. We have never quite figured out the answer, but it must be related to the quality of the pork used as well as the seasonings. We have a butcher in Collepepe who makes our sausages for us in bulk. Because my husband and I like our sausages spicy, we have the butcher add extra chili peppers to our order, but we always order some mild for when guests or family are visiting.
One of my favorite, easy dinners is a tasty sausage bake. I throw the sausages into the oven in a big pan along with my vegetables of choice, and with whatever seasonings I’m in the mood for. As the sausages cook, they release their juices into the pan flavoring the vegetables and before you know it dinner is done. From time to time, I also like to marinade my sausages for an hour or so in some full bodied local red wine before roasting which really gives them a good flavor and turns them a dark reddish brown. I have included that step in this recipe, but feel free to skip it if you prefer. Either way, the sausages will be tasty!
I like to use a locally grown potato here in Umbria that is very similar to a Yukon Gold potato back in the US. The potato cooks up crispy on the outside but is creamy and tender inside. If you use new potatoes you may need a few more minutes cooking time before adding the sausages to the pan. I generally give my potatoes an extra 10 minutes more cooking time than my sausages to ensure they are fully cooked. I use just the basic yellow or red onion as both work fine in this dish, although if you like you could include some chopped raw fennel as well.
My olive of preference is the Taggiasca olive, a fruity olive from Liguria with lots of flavor. Other olives that work well are the Kalamata or Bella di Cerignola Olive. You can instead use green olives, or a combination of green and black if you prefer. Just taste your olives first…..they should be very flavorful. I also like to pit my olives before I use them in a dish such as this one just to be safe. Nothing worse than having someone break a tooth biting a hard pit or be caught unaware and start choking.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 2 Pounds Good Quality Italian Sausages, Spicy or Mild (Or About 2 Medium Sized Links per Person)
- 1 1/2 Cups Dry Red Wine (Optional - See Notes Above)
- 1 1/2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled & Cut Into 2-inch Pieces
- 4 Medium Onions, Peeled & Cut Into 8 Wedges
- 1 to 1 1/2 Cups Pitted Black Olives (See Notes Above)
- Coarse Black Pepper & Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Parsley Leaves To Garnish
- Place the sausages in a shallow dish along with the red and toss to coat. Refrigerate for an hour, turning the sausages halfway through.
- Drain the sausages and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
- In a large baking pan, place the potatoes, onions, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil and toss to coat.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan and turn the potatoes over.
- Place the sausages in around the potatoes and onions and bake for 15 minutes.
- Turn the sausages and potatoes, add the olives, and bake another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender and sausages are golden brown.
- Place everything on a large platter, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.