Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Keep things hot and spicy this Winter!

spaghetti-with-spicy-sausage-marinara

Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Yield: Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound spicy Italian pork sausage

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

12 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (¼ cup)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped finely

1 dried bay leaf

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

¾ pound spaghetti

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

For the pasta, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.

Add the olive oil, sausage, and onions to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.

Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes more.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, reducing the heat to low and stirring more often as the sauce thickens.

Once thick, remove the bay leaf and, season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the pasta, once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Stir the penne into the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). Drain (do not rinse), reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Toss pasta with spicy marinara sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.

Divide onto plates and top with the freshly grated cheese and parsley.

Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Your new favorite Autumn/Winter pasta dish is here! Serves 4 to 6, but you may want to just serve a couple people and have plenty for leftovers…

lyon-pasta-with-spicy-sausage-and-kale

Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 bunches cavolo nero (also known as black, dinosaur, Lacinato, or Tuscan kale)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs, bruised with your fingers

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

½ pound fresh spicy Italian sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links

½ cup golden raisins

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted, if possible

1¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 ounces gemelli or penne pasta

2 cups ricotta salata, drained and crumbled, or grated Pecorino Romano, not pre-grated

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, for serving

  1. Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop finely.
  1. Combine 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  1. Add the garlic, rosemary, and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  1. Add the sausage to the pot. Cook for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until the sausage has browned, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  1. Add the chopped kale, golden raisins, drained diced tomatoes, and stock to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.
  1. Turn the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to continue simmering and cover with a lid. Continue simmering until the kale is soft, and less than a third of the liquid remains, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Remove the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
  1. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
  1. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).
  1. Drain the pasta without rinsing, then immediately return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat.
  1. Add the pasta to the warm sausage-kale mixture, gently stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. Serve in shallow pasta bowls, topped with the ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano. If using ricotta salata, shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving with a vegetable peeler. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted pine nuts.

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Tired of the same old sunny side up eggs? Try this egg recipe and “wow” your family and friends. Simple and delicious, shirred eggs are easy to make and when you add some prosciutto – it’s a total winner.

Fun fact: You can watch me make this recipe on my Youtube channel!

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Yield: 1 serving

 

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 slice of prosciutto di parma, chopped roughly

1 large whole egg

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

½ tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/16 teaspoon Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon heavy cream

 

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease the bottom and sides of an oven-safe ramekin with olive oil. Place ramekin on a sheet pan.

Place the prosciutto in the ramekin. Crack the egg into the ramekin, whole. Add the salt and pepper, herbs and cheese, then top with the cream.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes (if using a shallow ramekin) or 11-12 minutes (if using a deeper ramekin) until the egg white is just set but the yolk still runny.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Cold day. Warm Soup. Enough said.

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 

1 bunch curly kale

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (2½ cups)

4 stalks celery, chopped roughly (2 cups)

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

½ pound fresh spicy Italian or fennel sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links

1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted

3 small dried bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1⅓ cups green (Puy) lentils, rinsed and picked over for small pebbles

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

 

Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop roughly. You should have approximately 6 packed cups of kale.

Add ¼ cup olive oil, the onions, carrots, and celery to a small pot set over medium-high heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery begins to soften.

Add the garlic, curry, and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is mostly cooked through, 5 minutes. At this point your kitchen should smell insanely good.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, lentils, kale and the stock. The stock should just barely cover the kale. Stir it all together.

Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. The consistency should be like a thick soup, so add a bit of water to thin it out if the lentils are not quite cooked at this point.

Once the lentils are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and vinegar. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve in soup bowls, and shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top with vegetable peeler. Grab a spoon and go crazy.

Note: If your sausage is on the spicy side, add a dollop of crème fraîche to take the edge off the heat.

Spiced Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Remember that Date Apple Chutney recipe I posted last week? Ya, well, this pork tenderloin is that recipes best friend. Try them both together for a delicious dish. Or just make the pork, because it’s darn good on its own!

Spiced Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Spiced Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Yield: 4 servings

 

Tenderloin:

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound pork tenderloin, silver skin removed (see note below)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, chipotle, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Pat the tenderloin dry and season it with the spice rub. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Dust off any excess spice rub.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Heat a large, oven-safe sauté pan (large enough to accommodate the pork) over high heat until very hot. Add the olive oil, swirl the pan to distribute the oil and heat until shimmering. If it begins to smoke, that’s okay.

Add the tenderloin and allow to cook for 2 minutes, undisturbed, until nicely seared. Using tongs, rotate the tenderloin ¼ turn and continue to sear, again for 2 minutes. Once seared, rotate again another ¼ turn and sear for another 2 minutes. Upon rotating the tenderloin to the fourth and final side, hold the tenderloin off the pan with your tongs and insert the digital probe of an oven-safe meat thermometer from the end of the tenderloin into the center. The tip of the probe must reach approximately halfway into the tenderloin.

Replace the tenderloin in the pan on the fourth and final side, and transfer the sauté pan, uncovered, into the oven. Set the digital thermometer to 145ºF.

When the thermometer beeps, after about 15 minutes, transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and allow the tenderloin to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Note: Similar to the iridescent color of a pearl, silver skin is the inedible connective tissue that covers a small portion of the thicker end of the tenderloin. Too tough to pull off with your bare hands (unlike a layer of fat), the silver skin can be removed, using your knife of choice, by simply filleting it off. Do this by cutting just under the silver skin with the tip of your knife, angling your knife slightly upwards, then cutting the silver skin off in strips. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher to remove the silver skin.

Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon

Teff is a North African cereal grass. Being a grass, it’s gluten free. It is primarily ground into flour and, if you have ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, you have probably enjoyed the spongy injera bread, which is made of teff flour. Teff can also be purchased it’s grain form – in fact, it’s the smallest grain in the world! – and can made into a polenta type dish, among other delicious uses.  Being such a fine grain, it has an almost silky texture and the taste is familiar like a mashed potato (almost uncanny) but with a little more earthiness and nuttiness.

Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions

Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon

Yield: 3 to 4

 

3 cups water or vegetable stock, divided

½ cup teff grain

¼ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons, unsalted butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 slices applewood smoked bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices (3/4 cup)

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

5 medium chard leaves, leaves stripped from stems and chopped roughly, 1 packed cup

¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, not pre-grated

 

For the Teff:

In a medium saucepan, bring 2½ cups water to a simmer. Add the teff and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the teff has softened and absorbed all the water, 15 to 20 minutes. (Check in frequently. You may need to add a bit more liquid as the teff cooks or to loosen it before serving.)

Once, teff is cooked. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover until ready to serve.

For the Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon:

Add the bacon to a large sauté pan then place over medium-low heat and cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.

Remove bacon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all of the bacon fat from the pan except 1 tablespoon, reserve the rest for another use or discard. Add the onions, thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt to the sauté pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions are lightly caramelized.

Add chard and ½ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is cooked down, approximately 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Serve:

Spoon teff into bowls. Top with sautéed vegetables and bacon. Finish with some shavings of cheddar cheese and some cracked black pepper.

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

It’s a classic and beloved Italian dish – panzanella – and once you try it, you’ll know why. Croutons soaked in extra-virgin olive oil and diced summer tomatoes. What more could you ask for? How about some bacon?! I like to add crispy prosciutto to my salad. It adds some texture and, of course, lots of flavor. Either way, this is the perfect salad for the summer. I mean, who’s to argue with the Italians? Capisce?!

 

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

 

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Yield: 2 servings


1 1/2 cups large hand torn croutons from Sourdough bread (crusts removed)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 slices prosciutto, torn into medium pieces

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, diced small (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 large tomato, diced medium, seeds removed and reserved

1/2 hothouse cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on a bias

1/4 cup green olives, pits discarded and chopped roughly, optional

8 medium basil leaves, hand torn

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, toss to combine the hand torn croutons with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Spread the croutons and prosciutto pieces on a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the croutons are toasted, but still soft in the middle and the prosciutto is crispy. (You may have to take out the croutons before the prosciutto.)

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, add the vinegars, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the tomato seeds. Close the lid and shake vigorously until well combined.

Place diced shallots and oregano in a small bowl. Using a tea strainer, strain the vinaigrette over the shallots so the tomato seeds do not combine with the shallots. Discard the tomato seeds.

In a large bowl, gently fold to combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives (if using), basil, croutons and the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide onto plates, drizzle each plate with olive oil and top with some of the crispy prosciutto pieces.

P.S. The quality of olive oil is always important, but especially in a salad where you can really taste its flavor. I’m partial to my favorite brand, Lucini Italia. Their olive oil is perfectly balanced and their vinegars are excellent as well. It can be found at most grocery stores or you can buy it online – in bulk!