Sausage Carbonara

When there is no food in the house, I can usually dig up the ingredients for pasta carbonara. Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish from  Rome, based on eggs, cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), bacon or pancetta, and black pepper. Spaghetti is usually used as the pasta, however, fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini can also be used. The dish was created in the middle of the 20th century.

Carbonara is one of the few things that everyone in the family eats – even my daughter Grace! Because we had no bacon (can you even imagine?!) my husband made this carbonara using sausage.  It worked!  You can also throw in some frozen peas (Grace picks them out!).
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Sausage Carbonara

Serves 4

4 Italian sausages, cooked and crumbled, casings removed
Olive oil
1 lb pasta
3 eggs
1/2 oz heavy cream
3 1/2 oz freshly grated Parmesan
1 lemon, zested
Sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Sauté the sausage until golden brown all over. While this is cooking, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions.

In a large bowl, whip up the eggs, cream, half the Parmesan, the lemon zest and parsley.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and immediately toss it quickly with the egg mixture back in the pasta pan. Add the hot sausage and toss everything together. The egg will cook delicately from the heat of the pasta, just enough for it to thicken and not scramble. The sauce should be smooth and silky. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, season, if necessary, with the salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

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Pasta with Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage

Here is a great weeknight pasta dish to feed your family. Of course, this would exclude my daughter who only eats pasta with butter and Parmesan. It’s her loss!
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Pasta with Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage

Serves 4 – 6

1 Tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 lb hot or mild Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
10 to 12 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
12 oz pasta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

In a heavy, very large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sausages, increase the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the button mushrooms and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaf and boil until almost all of the liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, add to the pan with the sauce and stir until the sauce coats the pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1 cup cheese. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to warmed individual bowls or a large warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately and pass more cheese at the table.

Note: The sauce can be made a day ahead and then reheated before adding the pasta and cheese.

Brown Sugar Smokies

Do I care who won the super bowl? NO. We went to a party at our friend’s house (lots of fun and he made 4 racks o’ ribs!) and I brought some snacks – high caloric snacks. Here is one of them. It is reminiscent of Brown Sugar Bacon, which is transcendent.  My husband thinks the little smokies should be bathed in Dijon mustard before wrapping up in the bacon, which would be very good.  I will try it the next time.

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Brown Sugar Smokies

Serves 12

1 lb bacon
16 oz package little smokies sausages
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar.

Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.  About 30 – 40 minutes.

Southwest Breakfast Strata

We’re having a big party for my mother-in-law’s 85 birthday tonight. There is a house full of relatives and I needed an easy breakfast option. Usually, I would make this with corn tortillas, but I liked the flour tortilla option. I have slightly tweeked this recipe. I made this the night before, which makes it so easy in the morning. All I have to do is stumble to the coffee maker and take it out of the fridge. (actually my husband does the stumbling)

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Recipe from – Lindsay Powell Fooshee, Johnson City, Tennessee, Southern Living Magazine, MAY 2005

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Southwest Breakfast Strata

Serves 8

1 lb mild ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
½ green or red pepper, chopped
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
8 flour tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Colby-Jack cheese blend
6 eggs
1½ cups milk or half and half
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic pepper

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet.

Add chopped onion and bell pepper to sausage in skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Layer half each of tortilla pieces, sausage mixture, and cheese in a lightly greased 13- x – 9 inch baking dish. Repeat layers.

Whisk together eggs, milk or half and half, salt and pepper; pour over layers in baking dish. Cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired.

Bake, lightly covered with aluminum foil, at 375° for 30 minutes to one hour or until golden and bubbly.

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut Skillet

Octoberfest arrived with a visit from my brother-in-law, Russell. He loves saurkraut like both his siblings. I don’t mind it, but I could live without it. However, this recipe was outstanding and I even liked it. In fact, I had a second helping! He used 2 kinds of bratwurst.

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Bratwurst and Sauerkraut Skillet

Serves 6

6 slices bacon
2 Tbs butter (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs sauerkraut
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp caraway seed
1 bay leaf
1 lb fresh bratwurst
2 medium apples, cored, and sliced

Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan, drain, and crumble; set aside.

Drain off all but 2 Tbs of dripping in pan (or use butter or margarine if you prefer); add onion and garlic to drippings; cook over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in sauerkraut, potatoes, 2 cups water, apple cider, brown sugar, bouillon, caraway, and bay leaf.

Bring to a boil over heat.

Meanwhile, brown bratwurst in another skillet over medium heat until browned, turning to brown all sides.

Add to sauerkraut mixture when it comes to a boil; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add apples, and cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes more or until apples are tender.
Stir in the bacon, and discard the bay leaf; serve.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

For some reason, I wanted to make my own sausage patties. This morning, before I went to work, I made these. I plan on keeping them in the freezer to use for my egg McMuffin breakfast sandwiches. I used fresh herbs because I have no dried. You could also make these using ground chicken or turkey.

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Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Serves 12

1 lb ground pork
1 Tbs brown sugar
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried sage
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper

Combine pork and all the ingredients in a large bowl. Gently mix with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 1/2-inch patties, about 1/2 inch thick. (You should have 12 patties.)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of patties until well browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil. Wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining butter and patties. Serve.

Tips
A greased 1/4-cup measure makes 12 patties the same size with a minimum of work and mess. Cover with plastic wrap, then use your palm to gently flatten each sausage patty.

Make ahead:
The raw sausage patties can be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook frozen patties, proceed with step 2, cooking patties for 7 to 9 minutes per side.

Sausages with Herbed Beans

This is a great weeknight meal. It’s very similar to cassoulet, which is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing sausage and other meats. The beauty of this recipe is that unlike cassoulet, it cooks very quickly. I sent my husband, Eric, the shopping list via text message, he actually bought already cooked Portuguese smoke cured sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika. I thought it wouldn’t work, but it was really delicious and I will be making this again.

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Sausages with Herbed Beans

Serves 4

2 Tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
4 large hot or sweet Italian sausages, about 1 lb total
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans (each 15 oz) cannellini beans
1/4 cup tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook the sausages and onions
Preheat an oven to 400°F. 



In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the onion to the pot and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer.



Cook the beans

Add the beans with their liquid and the tomato puree to the pot and cook until the liquid begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the sausages to the pot.



Bake the dish

In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, cheese and the 1 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Yorkshire Toad in the Hole

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Guest Blogger du jour Sharon signing in here from Brisbane, Australia. Although I write from Australia I am actually  British, from Yorkshire, the home of the Yorkshire Pudding, a savoury batter pudding baked in a hot oven, served with roast beef, but there is a variation  – Toad in the Hole – sausages baked in the Yorkshire Pudding batter. This is my mother’s recipe and is so old that it is my only recipe in ounces – we are metric  in Australia and UK.

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Yorkshire Toad in the Hole

1lb sausages
2 Tbs oil
4 oz plain flour
1 tsp dry mustard
salt & lots of pepper
2 eggs
¼ pt milk and ¼ pt water mixed

In a mixing bowl add flour, mustard, salt and pepper, eggs, milk and water – whisk until smooth.

Heat the oil in a cast iron (Le Creuset style) baking dish.

Add sausages – bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.

Pour batter over sausages and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately – it is vital to have everyone seated at table before you remove the Toad from the oven – to serve in all it’s crispy brown glory!  Have I been reading too much Nigella??

This needs a big mound of buttery mashed potato and gravy.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Casserole

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Last night, I made this really simple one pot dinner. The original recipe called for chard, but I changed it to kale, since it’s such a super food. Don’t get me wrong, chard is good too. I will definitely be making it again.

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Sausage, Kale & White Bean Casserole

Serves 4

1 Tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch Kale, leaves cut into 2-inch strips
2 15.5 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper
2 Tbs bread crumbs

Heat oven to 400º F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the sausage and cook, turning, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the carrots and garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the beans, ½ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Nestle the sausages in the beans.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the remaining teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle over the sausage mixture. Transfer the skillet to oven; bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Chipolatas with Balsamic Tomatoes

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Today’s blog comes from Sharon, Brisbane, Australia.

A chipolata s a type of fresh sausage, believed to have been created in France, similar to Italian sausage or kiełbasa, but often prepared as a relatively thin and short, breakfast sausage-style sausage, often grilled rather than pan-fried.

Chipolatas are typically made from coarse-ground pork seasoned with salt and pepper together with herbs and spices. Chipolatas are common in the United Kingdom. They are similar to a type of breakfast sausage found in Australia.

This is the most simple all in one pan dish and is easily doubled to feed a crowd. Great flavors and good color too.

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Chipolatas with Balsamic Tomatoes

16 chipolata sausages – or 8 regular sausages
2 red onions, cut into wedges
1 Tbs garlic infused olive oil
½ lb cherry tomatoes
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
basil leaves

Set the oven to 350°F

Toss the sausages onion and oil in a large baking dish, season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes until the sausages are golden.

Add the cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, toss together.

Return to the oven for a further 15 – 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the sausages are cooked through.

Sprinkle over basil leaves.

Serve with crusty bread, or as I am doing tonight a Potato Dauphinoise and green beans.