Spicy Sausage Zucchini Casserole
The other day I was wanting to make a quick and easy dish, using up some of the zucchini and tomatoes I received in this week’s FFTY box – but I didn’t want to make a pasta dish, which had been my norm recently. When I went poking around in the pantry in search of something besides pasta to make with them, I saw the brown rice, and thought, “aha! rice casserole!” Perhaps a casserole isn’t the most elegant meal, but it definitely is home-y and dead easy, which is why it’s such a staple in most homes, but a casserole definitely doesn’t need to be boring.
I had some (very) spicy italian sausage leftover from a large package I had in the fridge – I used some of it earlier this week to make Anise Soup with Sausage and Mushrooms. It needed to be used up in the next few days, and if there’s anything casseroles are good for, it’s definitely as a use-stuff-up-dumping ground. But in a good way.
As I was making this – I realized that I really should make more casseroles. I mean, with all the oven-friendly pots I have, it’s the ultimate one-dish meal. Just pull out a dutch oven, saute up some onions, add some meat, veggies, rice, and broth, and then stick the whole kit n’ kaboodle in the oven. What’s not to love about that? It’s low-mess, easy and yummy. Casseroles get a bad rap, methinks.
Anyhow – this casserole is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s a little spicy, creamy, and chock full of flavor. If you want to cut the cooking time down, you could use pre-cooked rice, and skip the broth and then just bake it in the oven, but I like the way the rice absorbs all the flavor of the meat and veggies. As an added bonus, it was pretty chilly the day that I made it, so it was just hearty enough to warm us up a little bit, without being too terribly heavy-like-a-winter-dish hearty.
- 4 Spicy Italian Sausages; cut in to slices
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 3 zucchini, cut in to 1″ chunks
- 2 Small sweet Peppers; diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tomatoes; diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 and 1/2 cups Broth
- 1 and 1/2 cups Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup Cream Cheese; softened
- Kosher Salt
- Preheat Oven to 350°
- In a dutch oven, or other oven-safe pot with a tight fitting lid, brown the sausage over medium heat
- Add the onion and saute until onions are translucent
- Add the peppers and saute until tender
- Clear a spot in the pan and add the sliced mushrooms
- Saute mushrooms until tender
- Add the garlic and the cream cheese, stirring until the cream cheese melts and coats everything
- Remove from heat
- Add the rice, stir to combine
- Add the broth, tomatoes, zucchini and kosher salt to taste
- Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until all liquid has been absorbed by the rice