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.

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Presenting… your holiday roast!

pot-roast-with-veggies-and-kumquats

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Yield: 6 servings

1 (2½- to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

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

3 celery stalks, chopped roughly (1½ cups)

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (5 cups)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon)

2 cups red Zinfandel wine

4 cups chicken stock

2 dried bay leaves

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 pound small yellow potatoes (7 to 10), scrubbed

6 kumquats, halved and seeded

  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator, pat dry and season all sides with the salt and pepper. Allow the roast to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF. Open a few windows or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky.
  1. Heat a small oven-safe pot over medium-high heat until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Immediately add the roast and brown on all sides, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a large plate and discard the oil.
  1. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  1. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil, the tomato paste and the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  1. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes more; it will begin to thicken just a bit.
  1. Stir in the stock, bay leaves, thyme, potatoes and kumquats. Replace the roast in the pan. Depending on the size of your pot, the roast may be halfway or completely submerged.
  1. Bring the pot just barely to a simmer, cover and carefully place in the oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, remove the roast and cut into pieces, or simply pull apart with two forks. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle pieces of the roast, vegetables, and broth into soup bowls.

Note: When shopping for your boneless beef chuck, look for a lot of marbling in the meat. Those white streaks are marbling, or fat. It is the fat, in part, that gives this dish loads of flavor and keeps the meat moist. The total cooking time is just over 1 hour per pound of meat. Thus, a 2½ pound beef chuck roast will take approximately 2¾ hours to cook.

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.

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

These are delicious. Let me state my case. Super Sous made these the other day and then we had to have them 2 days later and again 2 days later because they are addictive! Crispy, salty, earthy and a bit lemony from the sumac in the za’atar. Pair it with the spicy, cool, tangy harissa sour cream and, well, let’s just say – I say serves 4, but we ate the whole batch between the two of us in just minutes. Case closed.

P.S. You can watch me make this on YouTube.

Zaatar Potato1

Zaatar Potato2

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

Yield: 4 servings

 

28-ounces mixed small potatoes (red, gold, purple) or fingerling potatoes, cut into equal-sized wedges

3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon za’atar

 

Place a parchment-lined sheet tray on the middle rack in your oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and salt.

When oven is preheated, remove sheet tray and arrange potatoes on the sheet tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, stir potatoes and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven and transfer baked potato wedges to a large bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons olive oil and za’atar and toss to combine.

Serve za’atar potatoes on a plate with harissa sour cream on the side.

 

Harissa Sour Cream:

½ cup organic sour cream

½ teaspoon harrisa

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Mix to combine in a small bowl.

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

It’s a one pot wonder, it’s delicious, healthy, sustainable and it’ll serve a family, dinner party or just yourself – for many meals. What more could you ask for?

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small

1 fennel bulb, cored and diced medium

4 celery stalks, cut into thirds lengthwise and diced small

6 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

3 cups corn kernels

2 ½ cups lima beans

2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, spots or greening removed and diced medium

4 cups vegetable stock

5 sprigs thyme, tied together with the bay leaves (use butcher’s twine)

2 bay leaves, tied together with the thyme sprigs (use butcher’s twine)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound Dungeness crab meat

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

In a 5.5 quart pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft, translucent, and lightly caramelized.

Add the fennel and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the celery and fennel begin to soften.

Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.

Add the garlic and the Old Bay seasoning and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add the corn, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, stock, and herb bundle. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just cooked through.

Turn off the heat. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.

Add the crab, gently stir to combine and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Remove and discard herb bundle and serve stew in bowls garnished with some hand torn parsley.

Cooking for the Gastric Cancer Foundation

Tonight, I had the good fortune to cook with my brother and fellow Next Food Network Star competitor, Hans Rueffert. Hans is chef and co-owner (with his lovely wife) of the Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia, (if you are ever near – you must go – quaint, beautiful and delicious food, of course) author of the cookbook “Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow” (a steal at only $25!), father of 2 fantastic kids (and 1 more on the way) and is a gastric cancer survivor. Hard core. He is also a health and nutrition coach, chef/teacher, advisor, mentor, and inspiration/coach for others…  definitely one of the most generous people I know. He is close friend and was even there to support Super Sous’ mom when she fought cancer last year. A true genuine hearted person.

So, it was a huge honor (and a blast) for me to cook with him tonight for a Gastric Cancer Foundation private dinner in San Francisco. Here we are serving up the soup course: Summer Corn Soup with Chanterelles, Creme Fraiche and Basil Pesto.

Rueffert and Lyon

 

And my Mixed Berry Crostata – how much more summer can you get?!

mixed berry crostata

Thanks for the invite, brother Hans! Let’s cook again soon.

If you want to support kicking cancer in the ass!, you can click to donate to the Gastric Cancer Foundation.