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.

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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.