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.

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.

Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.

In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.

And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.

spicy mango popsicle

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp

 

Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

For all you peanut sauce lovers – this one is for you. Plus, this recipe is vegan, vegetarian, raw and gluten free!

sweet and spicy peanut sauce

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce

peanut sauce noodles

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

 

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

Yields: 2 servings

 

Sauce: (yields ¾ cup)

1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped roughly

2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (on a microplane)

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

 

Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend to combine thoroughly.

 

Noodles:

1 large zucchini (2 medium zucchinis), peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler or made into noodles

1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

¼ cup toasted unsalted peanuts, chopped roughly

¼ cup cilantro leaves

 

Gently toss some of the peanut sauce (to your liking) with zucchini and red bell pepper.

Divide onto serving plates or in bowls and top with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

This herbed spicy egg salad sandwich is so good that I am making it for lunch today! For those who may not be familiar with harissa, it’s a hot chili pepper paste. You can find it at Whole Foods, speciality stores and online. In fact, I recently bought some online at Amazon as I didn’t have time to make a Whole Foods run. It’s one of those condiments where a little bit goes a long way. It’s spicy, but what I love about it is that it also has a nice peppery, earthy flavor and can be added to sauces, dips, mayonnaise… it’s quite versatile like that. But first, why not give it a try in this egg salad recipe…?!

 

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

 

 

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

 Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

1 small shallot, peeled and diced small, 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon champagne vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 large cornichon, diced small, 2 tablespoons

¾ teaspoon harissa

Zest from ½ lemon

¼ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon finely chopped mint

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro

3 whole hard boiled eggs, chopped roughly

3 hard boiled eggs –whites only, chopped roughly, yolks reserved for another use

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit while you prep the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, cornichon, harissa, lemon zest, cumin, mint, parsley and cilantro. Add the chopped eggs. Mix together. Add the small bowl with shallot, lemon juice and vinegar. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice if needed.

Serve as tea sandwiches or on toasted buns with lettuce and tomato.

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

These sweet and spicy chicken wings are so delicious (just look at those beauties!) that you should probably double or triple the batch… Actually, let’s say definitely triple the recipe…

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

 

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

Yield: 1 to 2 servings

 

Tamarind Glaze

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced

 

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sauce reduces to about 3 tablespoons.

 

Chicken Wings

1 pound organic chicken wings, patted dry

½ teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

½ tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon raw white sesame seeds

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on the sheet tray.

Place chicken wings in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the baking powder and toss to combine. (The baking powder will help keep the chicken skin dry and crispy!)

Place chicken wings, skin side up, on the wire rack and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, flip the wings, brush on half of the glaze, flip the wings back over, brush on the remaining glaze, then sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds.

Return to oven and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until a beautiful deep brown color is achieved and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.