How to make spicy sausage casserole

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The recipe that follows is comforting, yet has just enough kick to keep it interesting. That kick comes from hot Italian sausage, but it's mixed with rice and a cheese sauce that mellows it out and makes everything work tastefully together. Think mac and cheese meets rice and sausage. It's a combination that somehow just works.
The dish comes together fairly quickly, and using leftover rice can cut down on your prep time even more. While the sausage and the cheese sauce do need to be cooked first, the casserole takes only about 20 minutes to bake in the oven. So, it won't be long before you're sitting down to a plate of comforting goodness!
Cooktop Cove
Spicy Sausage Casserole
10 minutes
25 minutes
35 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hot Italian sausages, removed from casing
1 onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 green pepper, medium dice
2 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan. When hot, add Italian sausages to the pan, breaking them up as you do. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sausage is no longer pink.
Add onion to the pan, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add garlic to the pan and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
While the sausages are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat.
Whisk flour and dry mustard into the melted butter and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
Slowly add milk to the pan, whisking as you do.
After all milk has been added, simmer for about 10 minutes, until milk mixture has slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn heat off under milk mixture and, a little at a time, add cheddar cheese, stirring after each addition.
Place sausage mixture, cooked rice and green pepper into a large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over the top and stir to incorporate all ingredients.
Pour rice mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Place bread crumbs into a small bowl and pour melted butter over top. Stir and let sit for about 3 minutes so the bread crumbs can absorb the butter. Then sprinkle over casserole.
Place casserole dish into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the entire dish is bubbling throughout.
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