Making a Good Thing Better – Italian Shepherd’s Pie

Italian Shepherd's Pie

Italian Shepherd’s Pie

Well. It’s arguable. Is this better than the original? Maybe they’re 50-50…equally wonderful. All I know is you get some tasty meat topped with something creamy and you probably can’t go wrong. The original Irish Shepherd’s Pie starts with a layer of ground seasoned beef, dotted with peas and carrots, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until the potato top gets golden. Good, right?

Here’s my version (since it seems I only have Italian ingredients in my kitchen). And I’m obsessed with cute, small portions, so these are done in 4-5 oz. ramekins–individual servings.

ramekins for Italian Shepherd's Pie

ramekins for Italian Shepherd’s Pie


Cook up the ground beef, but add some broken up Italian sausage, too. And sautéed onion.

Sausage and onion sautéing

Sausage and onion sautéing

Yes, add the peas, but also add some diced tomato (Italian, remember?). That’s your bottom layer.

Sausage, onion, beef, tomato & peas mixture

Sausage, onion, beef, tomato & peas mixture

The top: no potatoes. Instead, RICOTTA. (I can’t stay way from the stuff). Mix ricotta with some diced or shredded mozzarella, add some grated parmigiano, salt & pepper, and an egg yolk. Mix well.

Ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano, s & p, egg yolk

Ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano, s & p, egg yolk

Top your meat with this swirly, swoon-worthy concoction. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top. Bake till golden.

Italian Shepherd's Pie

Italian Shepherd’s Pie

The Irish becomes Italian right before your eyes.

A Favorite Corner of Rome

A Favorite Corner of Rome

Individual Italian Shepherd Pies

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 Italian sausages (mild or hot, your preference)

1 lb. ground beef

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup peas

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1/2 lb. shredded mozzarella(use a box grater)

1/4 cup grated parmigiano

2 egg yolks

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, then add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Cut the sausages in half and push out the meat from the skins. Break up in sauté pan and cook with onion, 2 minutes or so. Add ground beef. Break up in pan and cook thru until the meats are browned. Add the tomatoes and peas. Season with salt & pepper. Cook 5 minutes more.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cheeses and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the meat into 10 or 12 ramekins leaving 1-inch open on top. Divide the cheese mixture on top of the meat. Smooth gently to cover meat with a spoon. Place ramekins on a sheet pan. Bake until golden on top, about 20 minutes until golden.

(If you try it, let me know how it goes!)

FYI: Click here for a link to my cooking segment on WSMV-TV More at Midday demo’ing this recipe!