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Author Notes: This was a classic collaboration for my mother and me. My love for exploring types of food we have never tried, combined with her gravitation toward Italian themed dishes, has given way this latest of our many creations: a delicious twist on Shepherd's Pie.
It started when she told me she needed to make dinner for that night using the sausages she was defrosting and an abundance of leftover garlic mashed red potatoes. My favorite use thus far for leftover potatoes has been (the one time I made it) Cottage Pie, so I explained the concept of the dish to her. She liked the idea of it, but wanted the flavors to be entirely different. As I was sauteing our vegetables and smelling the herbs and wine wafting from the pan, the name of the dish came to me and I knew we had to save this recipe. It is still a very rustic and simple dish, but with an entirely different, richer and more complex flavor than the Shepherd or Cottage could offer you. Feel free to omit or add whatever vegetables or fresh herbs you have on hand- That's how we decided what to put in it in the first place! —Kacia
Makes 10 hearty main courses
- 4-5 cups leftover mashed potatoes. Flavored with herbs, garlic and butter like Mom's would be best.
- 6 large mild Italian sausages
- 1 1/2 yellow onions, wedged
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 mushrooms- halved or quartered
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced
- 1 large zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup quartered brussel sprouts
- 1 large fresh tomato, diced
- 1 1/2 cups white wine (chardonnay)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, whisked into 1 cup of the wine
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh (or, less desirably) dried herbs, to your Italian taste. We used chopped Italian parsley, thyme and rosemary from her backyard.
- 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350. Fry sausages, breaking up with your spoon, in a hot, 14" everyday pan. (It's 'every day' for a family of 7) When no longer pink, remove from pan and set aside.
- Saute onions in remaining sausage grease. Add olive oil to saute remaining vegetables (except potatoes) until just tender. Stir in sausage.
- Add the wine with the dissolved cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, and herbs.
- Reduce heat, cover and allow the aromas to fill your house for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and, if your pan is oven proof, spoon/spread mashed potatoes over the mixture. If you need to use a couple 9x13 pans, evenly distribute the mixture between the 9x13s and spread mashed potatoes on them.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
- Put in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes and serve large spoonfuls up piping hot. It works well as a main course all alone, but could also be accompanied by a very light salad.