Chef’s Notes: I have this memory of my grandma making sausage. She took out a round cake pan and placed one of those long, coiled herbed sausages into the center, then sprinkled a few slices of potato around it and placed it in the oven to roast. That was it—no garnishes, no frills. It was beautiful and delicious, bronzed and swimming in its own juices in the flimsy metal pan.
My recipe has a few more frills, like fresh basil leaves and on-the-vine cherry tomatoes, and I like to sear the sausages on the stovetop to get them extra crispy. Yet, this recipe is equally effortless and simple. It feels perfectly Italian in that way, served straight from the pan with bread for dipping.
Serves 4 to 8
- 3 pints (about 2 1/2 pounds) ripe cherry tomatoes, some left on the vine if desired
- 4 small shallots (6 1/4 ounces total), peeled and halved lengthwise
- 8 garlic cloves, in their skins
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 hot or mild Italian sausage links (1 1/4 to 2 pounds total)
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing (optional)
- Crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, scatter the tomatoes, shallots, and garlic cloves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and a few pinches of pepper. Top with the butter pieces, distributing them around the pan.
Bake until the tomatoes are wrinkled and some juices have started to pool in the pan, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pierce the sausages in a place or two with a paring knife to allow some of the juices to escape while cooking. In a medium or large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the sausages.
Cook, turning the sausages occasionally, until well seared on all sides and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes and stir briefly. Transfer the sausages to the pan with the tomatoes, nestling them in slightly. Drizzle with the sausage juices, if desired. Garnish with basil leaves (if using) and serve with crusty bread.
Reprinted with permission from “Piatti: Plates and Platters for Sharing, Inspired by Italy” by Stacy Adimando, copyright 2019. Published by Chronicle Books.