Italian Sausages Cooked in the Oven

Italian Sausages Cooked in the Oven and Served in a Stew with Kale and BarleyItalian Sausages Cooked in the Oven and Served in a Stew with Kale and Barley

I like to cook but I don’t always have time to dither in the kitchen. Which means some nights, when it comes to dinner, I need to multi-task. If I can have something in the oven AND something bubbling on the stove then perhaps it’s possible to carve out a little time for more meaningful tasks like crying through The Rachel Maddow Show. The solution? Head to your nearest butcher shop and ask for good fennel-flecked Italian sausages. I like the coarse-cut varieties displayed in plump clusters. Of course, sausages from the grocery store will often fit the bill. Especially if you’ve got no time to dither – just as long as they’re generously filled and look like their skins are about to burst.

There are many good ways to cook sausage. That’s why they’re so versatile.

Some people prefer to cook them in a frying pan, turning them every few minutes, allowing them to slowly brown in a nice slick of fat. Which is a very good way to go, but it can take up to 40 minutes and all of your attention. The British seem to like their bangers cooked under the broiler, and I think German brats make a durable, no-nonsense griller. You say stir-fried Chinese lap cheung? I say yes, please.

But when I’ve got my mind on other things I often opt for sweet Italian sausages cooked in the oven. They take very little attention and get nice and uniformly brown.

I admit it’s a little strange to arrange my dinner menu around cable news schedules. But I’m not the only one. The President of the United States reportedly fills his days with “plenty of television,” and from his tweets, it’s often possible to discern what he’s watching. I can relate to that because with all the crazy things going on in this world I can’t help but keep an ear on Anderson Cooper and an eye on dinner. So, with all the attention I can muster, I’ve got a meaty cool-weather stew laden with sweet Italian sausage, kale, barley, and rosemary. And like politics today, it’s deeply flavored and surprisingly complex. Yet it’s quite easy to make with sausages cooked in the oven. GREG

Italian Sausages Cooked in the Oven and Served in a Stew with Kale and Barley

Roasted Sweet Italian Sausage with Kale and Barley Stew 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from The GuardianPublished
Roasted Sweet Italian Sausage with Kale and Barley Stew


  • 18 ounce sweet Italian sausage links
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2–3 carrots peeled and diced (about 2 cup)
  • 1–2 rutabagas peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • kosher salt (as needed)
  • 1 cup pearl barley (rinsed with cold water)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves only, finely chopped)
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 1 bunch fresh kale (leaves stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped)
  • cider or malt vinegar (optional)


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the sausages in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning halfway through cooking until well browned, about 25 minutes. Don’t worry if they are not cooked all the way through, they will finish cooking in the stew. You may alternatively cook the sausages on the stove in a little fat until well-browned.

While the sausages roast: Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large soup pot. Add the leeks, carrot, and rutabaga. Season lightly with salt, then cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 6 minutes.

Add the barley, stir 2 to 3 minutes until well-coated with oil and beginning to toast. Add the rosemary and stock, then season with salt and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. The sausages should be well-browned by now if so remove them from the oven and add them the pot. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, adding a splash of water if necessary to keep the consistency loose but not soupy.

Add the chopped kale leaves (save stems for another use) and simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes until the greens are wilted but still vibrant. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve the stew in individual bowls with a sprinkling of vinegar (if using).