Yes, Virginia, you CAN have an Italian recipe that does not include pasta and marinara!

I learned this cooking method from Joe.  Joe is the lovingly temperamental proprietor of Joe’s Italian Kitchen in Boone, NC. Back when I hosted a local TV show, the segment I filmed with Joe was one of my favorites!   He reminds me so much of my Italian grandfather, who could be tough when he needed to, while being a lovable teddy bear-type grandfather.  Joe’s 86-year-old father still come into his store every day to help make their treasured family recipes.

(Joe isn’t sponsoring this post, I just think it’s such a cool story, and the food is REAL Italian food!)

Joe showed me the method, but I’m taking liberties with the ingredients. I couldn’t remember what all he used, bit mine tasted pretty good!

Italian Sausage and Onions

(Joe used Green Peppers too)


  • 5 links Italian Sausage
  • One medium onion
  • A handful of fresh Rosemary (you can experiment with the herbs)
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste


1. Put the sausage in a saute pan, which can be used in the oven. Cook on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

2. While the sausage is cooking, chop the onions and strip the rosemary from the stem.  Gently crush the rosemary just a little bit to release the flavor and aroma. It’s OK to add the Rosemary in chunks, because you may not want to actually eat all the rosemary.  It adds a wonderful flavor to the dish, but it can get overwhelming.

3. After the sausage browns, add the onions and rosemary to the pan.  It will look like this:

Sausage and Onions

4. Now, put the pan into a 375 degree oven for another 15 minutes or so, until the sausage is cooked through and the onions are caramelized.  I served ours with rice and pinto beans, because that’s what we had in the pantry!

Sausage and Onions Done

And lastly, ENJOY!  What do you think?


Also, this meal was under $5.00 and fed our family of 5.

Sausage: $3.38 (on sale because today was the “sell-by” date)

Onion: $0.50

Rosemary: Basically free- it came out of my garden

Rice (1 cup dry): $0.50

Beans (1 cup dry): $0.50

Grand total: $4.88.