I never cook up sausages as full links. I always slice them up or take them out of the casing and use as ground meat…typically tossed into pasta. But there’s something to be said for cooking them whole and I should be doing it more often. This recipe comes to us from NY Times Cooking because apparently that’s where I get all my recipes nowadays. (Spoiler alert: there’s another NYT recipe comin atcha next week.)
Start by scoring Italian sausage links (1 lb) and spread them on a pan with 1 lb. of mixed mushrooms (sliced). Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil (or avocado oil if olive oil will set off your smoke alarm at this oven temp like it would in my house).Roast at 450, shaking the pan once or twice, for 20 to 25 minutes. While the sausages cook, combine 3 tbsp olive oil with 3 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 clove of minced garlic in a separate bowl. Remove the sausages and mushrooms from the oven and transfer to a plate, but leave those good pan drippings on there. Cut 4 cups of French or Italian bread into small cubes and place on that sheet pan (this is why you wanted to save those drippings) and top with some of the vinaigrette. Roast the bread for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s nice and toasty. Add the bread to the sausage and mushrooms, top with 2 cups arugula, and drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Note: there was some parsley in the original recipe but…oh well. Also, I diverged from the recipe when it comes to serving style. You can definitely get the arugula wilty by putting it on the pan as the croutons come out of the oven, but I didn’t and I’m ok with that. I layered all my ingredients because I didn’t want too many pan to platter to pan to platter moments but by all means, you do you.
Not only is cooking sausage this way very very easy, I feel like it ends up being healthier. No, it doesn’t make the food itself any better for you, but it does make you eat less of it. When you see a whole sausage like this, you realize how large the portions are. None of us are Joey Chestnut lookin to with the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. We look at a plate of sausages (which are basically hot dogs) and say “yea one or two is a normal meal when you’ve got some sides.” Yet when sausages are sliced or removed from the casing, suddenly (in this house at least) we might eat the equivalent of 3. When you see them whole, it’s a nice signal to your brain not to go overboard.
Sheet pan meals are where it’s at. This one felt like a salad…but with massive sausages and croutons. So maybe not a salad? But I was still getting those vibes. I also like that because I layered the arugula and parmesan, it felt like a surprise. There was some fun hearty goodness under that huge pile of greens.