Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sausage

Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients

8 cups Italian bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, diced
2 large ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth

Directions

Place the bread cubes into a very large bowl and set aside. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and the sausage.

Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula, cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl of cubed bread.

In the fat left in the pan, sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, sage, salt, and peppers, cook 1 minute and, then, add the mixture to the cubed bread.

Add the broth to the bread mixture; stir until well combined.

Place the stuffing in a large baking dish and bake in the oven for the last hour that the turkey cooks.

Pumpkin Pie

Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients.

Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top.

Chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the pie filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and bake for about 60 minutes.

The crust should be light golden brown and the filling should be set.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before loosely covering and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set overnight.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Directions for preparing the squash:

Cut a thin slice off from the top & bottom of one acorn squash (just enough to leave a flat edge, so the squash can stand up on both ends).

Cut the squash in half, horizontally, so you have two bowl shapes. Scoop out the membranes and seeds and discard them.

Place the squash in a greased baking dish cut-side up. Brush the inside with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash halves for 30 minutes.

Squash Filling

Combine the following:

2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons diced celery
1/4 cup diced, peeled pear
1/4 cup diced, peeled apple
2 tablespoons fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup cooked brown rice

Place the filling mixture in the partially cooked squash halves. Place the filled squash in the oven and bake 30 minutes.

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini means little onion in Italian.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onions, stem side down, and cook until lightly browned 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue browning on the opposite side, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Add vinegar and honey; cook, until slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, and garlic; bring to a boil. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until onions are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Broccoli Florets

Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the broccoli and cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalk, leaving some of the stalk attached. Pull the florets apart. You don’t want the pieces too small.

Place the broccoli florets in a single layer in an oiled baking pan. Toss the garlic and broccoli together and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Toss and serve.


I used pappardelle pasta for this recipe because I wanted a lighter dish. Pappardelle noodles are very wide but lighter than lasagna. If you want a lower carb dish, I would recommend a low carb pasta I found made by Al Dente. It is a delicious egg/semolina pasta, that tastes like pasta but has half the carbs of regular pappardelle pasta. I like to serve a mixed green salad with Italian dressing with the casserole.

Ingredients

1 lb Pappardelle pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound Italian pork sausage
3-14 to 15 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
One 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper

Ricotta Filling
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well and set aside
32 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions.

Cut the sausage into ¼ inch slices.

In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, one tomato paste can of water, and the dried seasoning. Cook and stir for one minute. Add tomatoes salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Cook pasta two minutes less than the package directions. Drain.

Arrange a double layer of pappardelle (about a third of the pasta) in a 3-quart casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the sauce and add half of the ricotta cheese. Spread the cheese to cover the layer underneath. Repeat the process for a second layer. Spread the remaining pasta for a third layer and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella.

Spray a sheet of foil with olive oil cooking spray. Place the coated side down on the baking dish. Bake at 375*F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.


‘Scarpariello” literally means shoemaker-style.”Shoemaker-style chicken” may refer to Neapolitan shoemakers making delicious food in the little time they had at the end of the day. Chicken scarpariello is sometimes attributed to Sicily and Calabria and is made by sauteeing chicken pieces in oil and adding white wine, lemon, garlic, and parsley. However, it is not a traditional dish from Italy. It is probably more of a “Little Italy” dish, born of southern Italian roots somewhere in our Italian American neighborhoods here in the United States. In any case, it is delicious and very easy to make. Some recipes are made with a whole chicken or chicken thighs. I prefer the chicken strips for this dish. I also add potatoes but you can leave them out and serve the dish with pasta.

Chicken Scarpariello

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 lb chicken tenders
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil- divided
1/2 lb of spicy Italian sausage
12 oz new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices
4 pickled sweet cherry peppers, quartered
1 sweet bell pepper sliced (red, yellow, or orange)
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cherry pepper pickle liquid
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black ground pepper
¼ cup each chopped fresh basil and fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour.
In a 10- to 12-inch heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, and brown on both sides, turning once.

Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, cook the sausage slices and potatoes until brown; remove them and set aside with the chicken.

Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and cherry peppers to the pan. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, broth, vinegar, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil, then return the chicken, sausage, and potatoes to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a bubbling simmer until cooked through 20 minutes; add more wine or water if necessary to keep the pan from getting dry.

Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Stir the basil and parsley into the sauce remaining in the pan and spoon over the chicken.

Caprese Salad

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large vine-ripened tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
Fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a serving platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Season salad with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil.


Italian Meatloaf

12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium sweet onions, diced
2 jarred roasted red peppers cut in small dice
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
2 pounds ground beef
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
Fresh mozzarella cheese slices, about 6
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into wedges
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute 1 minute and then add the onions and saute until just soft. Let cool.

Place the rutabaga wedges in cold water. This helps them stay crisp during roasting.

Whisk together the basil, parsley, and eggs in a small bowl, and then add the salt and black pepper. Combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs in another small bowl. Thoroughly combine the beef and sausage, egg mixture, breadcrumb mixture, the Worcestershire, vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a large bowl using your hands, making sure not to overmix.

Shape the mixture into a loaf on an oiled oven tray or baking dish. Place the rutabaga wedges around the meatloaf. Sprinkle them with oregano, salt, pepper. and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 60-70 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Top the meatloaf with the marinara sauce making sure to spread it evenly over the top and place the mozzarella slices on top of the sauce. Return to the oven until the cheese melts. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve the rutabaga wedges and kale in the side.

Sauteed Tuscan Kale

Lacinato kale or, in Italian and often in English, cavolo nero is a variety of kale with a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially that of Tuscany. This kale has longer spear-like leaves with a pebbled appearance and a dark, mottled green color. Its flavor is earthy and less bitter than regular kale.

Ingredients

2 large bunches Tuscan kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 small lemon

Directions

Use your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
Heat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).

Add the kale a few handfuls at a time, stirring after each addition until all of the kale is added. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.


Italian Sausage Eggplant Bolognese Sauce

Serve this sauce over your favorite pasta. I used pappardelle because the wide noodles hold the sauce.

6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 (26-ounce) container Pomi finely chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
12 ounces uncooked pappardelle, rigatoni, bucatini or spaghetti
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add crumbled sausage and diced eggplant; cook until lightly browned.
Add onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 20 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef broth, tomatoes,1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and cream. Heat until warm.
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, adding 1 tablespoon kosher salt to the cooking water. Drain and add the pasta to the pot of sauce. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Place pasta in individual pasta serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.


In the mood for deep-dish pizza? No need to to get take out because this deep dish pizza is easy to make at home.

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza

Makes two 10-inch deep-dish pizzas.

Ingredients

1 recipe Deep Dish Pizza Dough, recipe below
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, crumbled
1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
26-28 oz container chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in two 10-inch round deep dishpans. Place one dough ball in each pan and press into the pan until the edge of the dough reaches the corners of the pan. Press the dough so that the edges rise up slightly. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest as you prepare the filling.


Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sausage and cook until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, Italian herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and tomatoes to the pan and cook until thickened, about 1 hour. Allow to cool to room temperature and divide the mixture in half.


Sprinkle the bottom of each dough with 1/4 of the shredded cheese, about 1/2 cup. Spread an equal amount of the sausage mixture over the dough in each pan. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then top each pizza with the remaining mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Transfer the pizzas to the oven and bake until the dough has risen, the cheese has melted, and the surface of the pizza and dough are a golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest 10 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Deep Dish pizza dough ingredients:
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, add all the dough ingredients. Mix until the dough forms a ball around the paddle. Remove the paddle and switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 7 minutes to form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually 1 hour. Divide dough into 2 portions and form each into a ball.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 8 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook for one minute. Pour in the heavy cream and, then, stir in the tomato paste. Bring to a low boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.

Off the heat, stir in the basil and the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls with grated Parmesan on the side.

Serve with a green salad.



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