Hot Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, loose and broken apart
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup zucchini or summer squash, cubed
  • 1/2 sweet vidalia onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup bell peppers, small dice
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 12 oz white wine
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice, long grain
  • Optional topping: 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  If you plan to use an oven-safe dish witha tall lid, be sure you leave enough clearance from the rack to the top of the oven.  My rack had to go almost all the way down to fit the lid of my dutch oven.
  2. It is best to chop all your veggies before you get started on this recipe.  Once you have your ingredients assembled, add oil to a large skillet and set heat to medium.
  3. Brown the loose sausage until well crumbled and browned.  Set aside to drain the excess fat.
  4. Using the same skillet on medium-low heat, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Then add the onions, peppers and carrots and salt and pepper to taste to the pan and cook until the onion is no longer transparent, about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini or squash and the sausage to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the contents of the skillet into an oven safe dish (either a glass Pyrex dish, dutch oven or other oven-proof dish that can be covered or has a cover) and mix the uncooked rice in.
  7. Put the same skillet back on medium heat.  Add the 12 oz of wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan, getting all those tasty bit left behind by the sausage with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the cream of mushroom soups, the Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook one minute, then add the sauce to the sausage and rice mixture and stir it completely.
  8. Use a cover on your pan or cover your dish with aluminum foil.  Bake for 90 minutes.  The casserole should be bubbling and the rice should be fully cooked.  If the rice is chewy, replace the lid and cook for another 15 minutes before checking.  Sometimes you may need to add a few more tablespoons of water to help finish the rice.  Add the water if your rice has tested as under-cooked after two checks.   Enjoy hot!
  9. (Optional) If you want to add cheddar to the top of the casserole, turn on your oven’s broiler.  Remove the lid or the aluminum foil (you may have to readjust the racks so the broiler can reach the top of the casserole.  Be careful!) and place under the broiler for 3 minutes.  Check every minute after that until the cheese has browned and melted to your preference.

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