Delicious Double Dinner

Even seasoned cooks are challenged when making creative meals for their families while limiting trips to the grocery store during the COVID-19 crisis.  I wanted to share how last week I adapted a tried and true recipe that was a regular in my house growing up to make a second meal that is going to stretch to a third since there were enough leftovers to freeze for later.

If you grew up in an Italian American family you may be familiar with the term “Jambot.”   This word in American Italian slang refers to a “big mess” so my dad affectionately called his version of Italian sausage, peppers, chicken and potatoes “Jambot.”    Dad would basically throw everything into a big roasting pan and cook it together at a high temperature so that all of the flavors blended together to make a delicious hearty one dish meal.   Having a lot of leftover chicken and sausage in the studio refrigerator I adapted Dad’s recipe so that in one morning of cooking I was able to make “Jambot” along with Chef Diana’s Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce.

I followed the recipe below but changed it around a bit since I had so much sausage.   First I cooked about four pounds of a mix of sweet and Italian sausage at high heat on a roasting pan.  I used 425˚ convection roast, but if you don’t have a convection oven you can make it 450˚.   This kept the mess in the oven rather than dealing with the grease splattering on the stove top.   Make sure you turn each piece of sausage at least once so that it browns lightly on both sides.   Ideally you cook it in the oven until it is about 2/3 done.   After this first round of roasting set 1 1/2 lbs. of sausage aside for and then pour about 3 Tb. of the grease into a large pot and reserve it for later when you make the  sausage sauce.

While the sausage is cooking using the largest bowl you have toss bone-in chicken parts (I like legs, thighs or combination) with sliced peppers, onions and quartered Yukon gold potatoes.   Here’s where you really don’t need to follow as recipe – use whatever amounts of each that you want and whatever color peppers you have available.  Coat these with some olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning or a combination of oregano and basil.

When the remaining sausage is cool enough to touch slice each piece in thirds and add to the big bowl with the other ingredients.  Make sure you add any of the juice that is accumulated on the pan to the bowl and don’t clean the roasting pan!   Now using your hands toss everything together making sure that the juice from the sausage is tossed well with the raw chicken and vegetables.    Depending on the amount of juice rendered you may need to add a bit more olive oil.

After well tossed return everything to the roasting pan in one even layer.   If you are making a big batch you may need to use a second roasting pan.  Return pan to the oven and cook for approximately 1 hour turning everything halfway through to make sure it is browns evenly.   You may find that the sausage is cooked through first so pull them out and put them in a bowl for a while and then return them to the pan for the last 10 minutes of cooking to reheat.    You are looking for the chicken to be cooked through to 165˚F  and for the vegetables to be caramelized and the potatoes to be brown on the outside and tender on the inside.   Once cooked through you are ready to serve your hearty one dish meal or you can transfer it to a baking dish to reheat later.

Now using the sausage and grease you had set aside follow Chef Diana’s recipe below to make her fabulous Fusilli with Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce.    This recipe is simple to make and so good!  My family loves it and it usually makes enough to freeze half for another meal.

Chicken, Sausage, Peppers, and Potatoes
Serves 6

1 lb Italian sausage links (try to find a combination of hot and sweet like the picture)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
1⁄2 pound assorted sweet peppers, seeded
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 450˚ F.

Place sausage links on a large roasting pan and cook in oven until browned and oil begins to render, about 7 minutes per side. While sausages are cooking, pierce them lightly here and there with the tip of a sharp knife so some fats and juices are released. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

When sausages are cool enough to handle, cut them into serving pieces, about 2-inch slices. Transfer to a bowl along with any accumulated juices from the cutting board.

Cut two slashes down to the bone on the skin side of each chicken thigh.

Depending on the size of the peppers, halve or quarter them and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the sliced red and yellow onions and potato chunks. Add chicken thighs and sausage pieces with pan juices.

Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and Italian herbs. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Mix with your hands until all ingredients are coated in oil, 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to large, heavy-duty roasting pan. Evenly space the chicken thighs skin side up. Position potatoes near the top.

Place in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through and everything is caramelized, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165˚F. Sprinkle with chopped fresh Italian parsley, if desired

Fusilli with Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce
Serves 4-6

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1½ pounds of hot sausage, taken out of the casing and crumbled
1 cup finely chopped onions, about 1 medium onion
½ cup medium diced carrots, about 1 medium to large carrot
3 tbsp. medium diced celery, about 1 small stalk
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup brown chicken stock or chicken broth in a pinch
One-28 oz. can imported Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp. parsley minced
1 pound fusilli
½-¾ cups imported freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large Dutch oven, add oil and set heat on medium.  Add sausage and cook stirring frequently.  When sausage is browned all over, about 10 minutes, transfer to a plate, using a slotted spoon.  Set aside to cool.

Add onions, carrots and celery to sauté pan and cook until softened.  Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook less than a minute.

Add wine and raise the temperature to high.  Bring to a boil and reduce mixture in half.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes and rosemary.

Place cooled sausage in a food processor and process until chopped evenly.  Add sausage to tomato mixture and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.  Taste for seasonings, remove and discard rosemary and add parsley.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta.  Add salt to taste and cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and place in a bowl.  Toss pasta with enough sauce to coat and add ½ cup of the grated cheese.  Serve immediately with the additional grated cheese on the side.

© Diana Albanese

I hope you will enjoy this recipe and some of the other’s we have posted on our other blog pages.    We miss seeing our  our customers around our counter but hope that as we go through this crisis together you are staying safe while enjoying some family meals around your kitchen table.   Feel free to reach us HERE  if you are looking for any other recipes that may be in our studio archives.   We are happy to help keep you cooking!