Italian Shepherd's Pie

Stefano's puts an Italian spin on a classic favourite, made with sausage, porcini mushrooms and roasted red peppers, this recipe might just become your new favourite.


INGREDIENTS

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
Butter, as needed
11 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed
11 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
2.2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup milk
Pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
3 to 4 roasted red peppers
2 tbsp. bread crumbs, for dusting the pan
1 egg yolk, beaten, for brushing


PREPARATION

To make the meat filling: Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in hot water, about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve mushroom liquid. Chop mushrooms and set aside. In a large fry pan, melt 2 tbsp. butter and sauté the sausage over medium to medium high heat. Add the cremini mushrooms, sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped soaked porcini mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown and sausage meat is cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the liquid from dried porcini mushrooms and let reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chopped parsley and season the mixture with salt and pepper.

For the potato topping: Cook the potatoes with their skins in salted boiling water until tender. While the potatoes are still hot, peel the skins. Puree the potatoes through a potato ricer into the pot that they were cooked in. Place pot over low heat. Add 2 tbsp. butter, milk, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth. Remove the mashed potatoes from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, to prevent the eggs from coagulating.

To assemble the shepherd’s pie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch square baking dish with butter and then dust with bread crumbs.

Add meat mixture to prepared pan. Add layer of roasted red pepper and then top with the mashed potato mixture. Brush with the egg yolk. Bake until the top is golden brown and filling is piping hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To freeze shepherd’s pie: Make sure to use a pan that is freezer-to-oven safe. Assemble layers, without brushing the top with the egg yolk. Cool completely. Wrap airtight and freeze for 2 weeks for best results and up to 1 month. Bake in 375 oven F. covered, until steaming hot, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and broil until top of pie is golden brown.



Yield: 6 servings.