The Hot Italian Skillet

Elaine Barbee - 2018 Finalist


Sausage Mixture:
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 hot Italian sausage links
1 large yellow onion (thinly sliced)
7 large bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 teaspoon white sugar

Garnish Mixture:
1 small bunch flat leaf Italian parsley (cleaned and dry, leaves removed)
1 clove garlic (skin removed)
¼ cup banana peppers rings (dried on a paper towel and finely minced)
Zest of 1 lemon

Cornmeal Mixture:
2 packages Martha White® Cotton Country Cornbread Mix
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
½ cup banana pepper rings (chopped)
4 tablespoon melted butter
1 ½ cups water

2 cups finely shredded Italian cheese


  1. Sausage mixture: In a 12 in. Lodge® Cast Iron skillet, over medium high heat, drizzle the olive oil evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Add the sausage links. Cook until brown on all sides.

2. Add the onion slices and the bay leaves to the sausages. Cook until the onions are softened. Stirring frequently. Add the garlic, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes until thickened. Stirring frequently. While the sausage mixture is simmering make the gremolata.

3. Place the parsley leaves on a small cutting board. Grate the garlic over the parsley leaves. Then add the minced banana peppers over the garlic, zest the lemon over the parsley mixture. Using a sharp knife finely mince all of the ingredients mixing together. Set aside to garnish the dish.

4. Preheat oven to 450° F. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the Lodge® Cast Iron skillet and place in oven while it is coming up to temperature. Once the oven is up to temperature remove the skillet from the oven and set aside. In a medium bowl add 2 packages of Martha White® Cotton Country Cornbread Mix, garlic, oregano, ½ cup shredded parmesan (reserve the other ½ cup parmesan for the topping), banana peppers, melted butter, and water. Mix well and add to a warm 12 inch Lodge® Cast Iron skillet and using the back of the spoon spread the mixture out to the edges of the skillet. Place in preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining parmesan. Turn off oven and turn on broiler. Return cornbread to the broiler for 1 minute or until golden brown on top. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.

6. Remove from broiler add the 2 cups Italian cheese evenly over the top. Then layer the sausage links over the cornbread. Spoon the sauce over the sausage links and then garnish with the gremolata. Serve immediately.

Serves 6