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Sausage, Potato and Cheese Savory Tart

A few weeks ago, my friend Lilli dropped off a piece of this savory tart in a “quarantine package” that also contained some of her biscotti — a recipe I posted more than a decade ago in the early days of my blog. It’s my favorite biscotti recipe of all time. Lilli hails from Salerno and is one of the best home cooks I know. Anytime she makes something, it’s always a hit, including this delicious tart. I made it myself over the weekend and my husband and I loved it. I can’t wait to make it for my Italian chit-chat group, when we can once again meet face-to-face for a “chiacchierata.”

The tart is easy to make, especially if you use a packaged pastry as I did. I chose to use puff pastry, but a regular pie pastry would also work just fine. Start by boiling a couple of large potatoes. Peel them, mash them with a fork and add some parmesan cheese and a beaten egg.

Remove the skin from some Italian sausage and fry, then drain of any residual oil.

Crumble the sausage into the unbaked shell. You could choose a round tin, or pie plate if you prefer.

Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Then take the potato mixture and using two teaspoons, place dollops on top of the mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, on the bottom rack of your oven, then turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Slice and serve with a salad for a complete meal. Or cut into smaller slices and serve as an appetizer.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Sausage, Potato and Cheese Savory Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (or pie pastry)
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups parmesan cheese
  • ¾ lb. - 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Line a standard tart pan or pie tin with the pastry.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator while making the rest of the recipe.
  3. Boil the potatoes until tender and peel. Cut into chunks and place in a bowl, then mash with a fork. Beat the egg and when the potatoes have cooled a bit, add the beaten egg and the parmesan.
  4. Remove the casing from the sausage and break into pieces and fry in a bit of olive oil, cooking thoroughly.
  5. Drain the cooked sausage.
  6. Crumble the sausage into the pastry shell, then cover with the mozzzarella cheese.,
  7. Using two spoons, place dollops of the potato mixture over the sausage and cheese until the whole pan is covered.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then place until the broiler for a couple of minutes until nicely browned.
  9. Be careful not to stray and check on the broiler in a couple of minutes or you may burn the top of the tart.
 

Stuffed Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread Knots

Whether it’s a good French baguette or hefty Italian bastone, I love a good loaf of bread, and don’t need any extra incentives to eat more. But this one is irresistible and can weaken my resolve to consume fewer carbs. It’s an easy-to-make stuffed bread treat that’s a kissin’ cousin to pizza. Your family and friends will love it (unless they’re gluten intolerant). With a glass of wine and a side salad, it was dinner for me and my husband last night. We could have eaten the whole thing by ourselves, but we stopped before we became truly gluttinous. You don’t have to make it in a Christmas tree shape, but that certainly does make it festive for the holidays. You could simply make it in a circle or wreath shape, or in a square format. I started out with frozen pizza dough – about a one pound package. Of course, you can make your own dough, if you’ve got the time and inclination. But there’s enough going on at this time of year, that I take short cuts when I can find them.

Start out by rolling or stretching the dough to a rectangle that’s about 6 inches by 16 inches. Have cooked sausage (1 large piece of Italian sausage, with the casings removed — crumbled and cooked in olive oil.) and some shredded mozzarella cheese nearby. Cut the dough into 16 pieces. You’ll need 15 for the actual tree, and one for the stump.

Press the piece of dough into a square shape and into the center of each piece of dough, place a small bit of the sausage and some of the cheese. Pinch the ends together firmly to seal. Make sure none of the filling is visible or it will leak onto the baking sheet.

Arrange the balls into a Christmas tree shape, pinched ends underneath, with the stump (which you have also filled with cheese and sausage) at the bottom.

Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven. As soon as it comes out of the oven, brush with the garlic-infused olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, parsley and bits of tomato to decorate. Serve immediately.

Bet you can’t eat just one!

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Stuffed Pull-Apart Bread Knots
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 uncooked pizza dough (about 1 pound)
  • mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups shredded, or 1 large ball
  • 1 cup cooked Italian sausage, crumbled and cooled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • a few sprigs of parsley, minced
  • marinara sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. Roll out the pizza dough into a rectangle, about 6 inches by 16 inches long.
  2. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each rectangle into 8 pieces.
  3. Flatten out each piece of dough into a square shape, then holding a piece of dough in your hand, stretch it a bit to accommodate a piece of sausage and a bit of the mozzarella cheese.
  4. Pinch the dough together, enveloping the filling inside the dough, shaping it into a ball.
  5. Place on a silicon baking mat, parchment paper or on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. If you're making a tree shape, you'll need 15 pieces, plus another one for the stump.
  7. If you're making a circle shape, make as many as will fit on your cookie sheet.
  8. After filling the dough, place on the Silpat mat, with the pinched side facing the baking sheet, making sure the dough balls touch each other slightly.
  9. Beat the egg and brush a little of the beaten egg over the dough balls.
  10. Bake in a preheated 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
  11. While the dough is cooking, gently saute the garlic cloves in the olive oil.
  12. Drain the garlic, retaining the oil.
  13. Brush the oil over the dough, and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese and parsley.
  14. Decorate with bits of chopped tomato or roasted peppers.
  15. Serve immediately, with marinara sauce, if desired.
 

Eggplant Parmigiana

I’ve been making eggplant parmigiana for decades, and if you’re like me, you’re making it the way most people (and cookbooks) instruct you to do, that is, frying the eggplant after coating the slices separately in flour, beaten eggs and then bread crumbs. The eggplant tastes great when it comes out of the fryer, with its crunchy coating and makes a delicious side dish as is.  But why fry it crispy, only to coat it in layers of tomato sauce and cheese, that will in essence, render the crispy eggplant completely soggy?

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve said “arrivederci” to the three step process of coating eggplant slices for parmigiana in favor of grilling eggplant for this classic casserole instead. You don’t have to  use an outdoor grill – a stovetop grill pan works just fine.

This method of making eggplant parmigiana is easier, and much lighter, and closer to the way it’s served in Italy. I recently made a couple of casseroles of this for a party, and everyone went back for seconds. I don’t think I’ll go back to the triple coating and frying method again – unless it’s to serve them straight out of the fryer as a side dish.

Place some tomato sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof dish (I use a very basic marinara – no meat, and it’s better if it’s a little on the thin, or runny side since it thickens up when it bakes with the eggplant and cheeses). Layer with slices of eggplant, shredded mozzarella and parmigiana cheese. Continue for two or three more layers, depending on how much eggplant, sauce and cheese you have. When you’ve used the last of your eggplant slices, cover them with more tomato sauce and cheese and place in the oven.

Bake at 375 degrees until bubbly hot and browned on top. If needed, crank the oven temperature to 425 degrees for the last five minutes, but keep a close watch on it because it can easily burn,

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Eggplant Parmigiana
 
Grilling eggplant, instead of breading and frying, leads to a much lighter eggplant parmigiana.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • Two large eggplant
  • about 1 - 2 cups tomato sauce (on the thin side because it will thicken in the oven)
  • olive oil to coat the eggplant slices
  • salt, pepper
  • seasoned salt
  • dried basil
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Peel the eggplant, but not entirely.
  2. Peel "stripes" in the eggplant, so some peel remains.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the slices, and season with salt pepper, (herbed salt if you have it) and dried basil.
  4. Use an indoor grill pan to grill the eggplant slices (I don't like using an outdoor grill for this recipe since I don't want a "smoky" flavor).
  5. Remove the eggplant slices when cooked through, and set aside.
  6. Spread some tomato sauce in a casserole and place a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce.
  7. Spread with a layer of the mozzarella cheese, then a layer of the parmesan.
  8. Repeat with more sauce, another layer of the eggplant and cheeses
  9. If you have enough eggplant, make a third layer, even if it's only a partial layer, in order to use up the rest of the eggplant.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden.
  11. If the top is still not golden, turn the heat up higher to 425 degrees, but keep a close watch so it doesn't burn.