sausage and potatoes

Two of the major through lines in my life have been the joy of being surrounded by family and a love for Italian-American cuisine. These two passions dovetail nicely whenever I get to make a proper, full spread for a family get-together. It can be a considerable undertaking, but if you break it down, plan correctly, and take each dish step-by-step, there’s really nothing more rewarding. Keep checking back on the blog and following the “Italian-American” and “Family Dinner” categories, and you’ll be able to build up an array of dishes for a wonderful family dining experience.

The recipe below revolves around peppered sausage and a traditional Italian vegetable dish known as a jambot*; or ciammotta if you’re in Calabria, or ciamfotta in Campania, or ciabotta in. . .well, you get the idea: there seems to be as many ways to spell it as there are provinces in Italy. However you spell (or pronounce) it, you’ll find it’s a great companion for a range of proteins—including sausage and fish—as well as for serving alongside pastas and polentas.

*It has been pointed out to me that a true “jambot” is a stew that involves wine and broth; however, this simpler version below is my father-in-law Joe’s twist on it. He has always called it a jambot, and I guess it stuck.

How to make a great southern Italian stew: “Jambot al Soprano”

I used to make this dish by simply sautéeing my peppers, setting them aside, then browning the sausage. Then I saw Carmela Soprano prepare her jambot on The Sopranos. “Why not add some onions and potatoes?” I thought.

When I just want to make sausage and pepper sandwiches, I skip the extra components. But when I am serving them up as a meal—as part of a pasta buffet, say—they are a definite addition.

What makes for the best Italian sausage?

Remember that sausage is sold as either mild or hot. If the latter isn’t enough heat for you, simply add a generous amount of giardiniera on top. We love sausage in my family. So much so that once a year, my Uncle Ralph would invite me and my Pollaro cousins to his house, where he would take out some giant cutting boards, newly sharpened knives, and an old-school sausage maker. We would gather around a very large table and trim and dice up pork butts too numerous to count.

We would tease my uncle because he had a unique way of speaking English, sprinkling his speech with words he modified either with intonation or a somewhat idiosyncratic pronunciation. His grandchildren were just as funny as they mimicked his lingo perfectly. He would always immediately fry a few links in his cast iron pan for tasting purposes, to ensure that he had added enough paprika, garlic, and fennel seeds. Once it met his final approval we were off and running.

There ain’t no better sausage than homemade.

Sausage & Peppers with Jambot Recipe

Sausage & Peppers with Jambot Recipe


  • 1 pound peeled potatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, cut into links or half links, mild or hot


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using a sheet pan with a rim or large shallow roasting pan, spread the vegetables in a single layer; avoiding overcrowding so they can brown evenly. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Toss to evenly coat. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes making sure to stir them several times.
  2. Pierce the tops of the sausages with a fork, then place them on the top of the roasted vegetables. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. The sausages should be nicely browned. Serve with fresh Italian bread: no Italian dish is complete without a generous slice of good Italian bread!
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September 11, 2020 — Mary DiSomma