Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sausage

Serve with Sausage and Peppers. Recipe follows.

Ciabatta Rolls

Starter
1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup room temperature water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
Or you can substitute 1 3/4 cups of sourdough starter
To make the biga: Mix all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the mixture is very bubbly.

Dough
All of the starter (from above)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

To make the dough: Mix the biga with the remaining ingredients for 2 to 4 minutes, using an electric mixer set on slow speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough will be soft and slightly sticky.

Let the dough rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into a 6″ x 12″ rectangle. Using a bench knife, cut out eight 3″ square rolls. Space the rolls out evenly on the board. Let them rise for about 45 minutes, covered with a thin kitchen towel until they’re puffy.
Place a baking stone in the top third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F. With a wide spatula place the rolls on the hot baking stone.
Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yield: 8 rolls.

 

Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lbs hot Italian Sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 bags of mini bell peppers, stems sliced off
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add the onion and peppers and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasoning and simmer the mixture covered for 15 minutes more.


Ingredients

1 ½ pounds hot Italian sausage links
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
1 pound sweet mini peppers, stem end removed but left whole.
1 large onion. sliced
1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl toss together the oil, sliced potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Spread the mixture in a large roasting pan. Top with the sausage and roast for 60-75 minutes until the sausage is cooked and the vegetables are brown turning the mixture halfway through the baking. Serve with some crusty Italian bread.


This recipe was inspired by a recipe posted on Lana Russo’s site, Friends Who Like Once Upon A Spice. The recipe is from the magazine: LA CUCINA ITALIANA

I adapted the recipe to my taste by broiling the eggplant shell instead of frying it and making the dish hearty enough to serve as an entree with the addition of some Italian sausage in the stuffing. This dish was delicious.

2 servings

Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes total about 6 oz, diced
¼ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon capers
1 medium eggplant about 14-15 oz
½ cup (about 6 oz) diced sweet cherry peppers
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon salt
6 oz cooked Italian sausage, diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Basil leaves for garnish

Directions

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp using a grapefruit teaspoon leaving a ¼ inch shell. Set the pulp aside.


Spray the eggplant shells with olive oil and place on a foiled lined pan. Broil the shells under high heat for 5-8 minutes until brown.

Chop the eggplant pulp and brown in a saucepan with 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the cherry peppers, garlic, capers, oregano, diced tomatoes, salt, and tomato paste. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the sausage and heat until warm.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese.

Divide the mixture between the two eggplant shells. Transfer the stuffed eggplants to a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake the stuffed eggplant at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until hot. Remove to serving plates and garnish with basil leaves.


Serve this pasta with a mixed greens salad and Italian vinaigrette.

Ingredients

4-5 cups cooked (leftover) pasta. I used linguine
3 links of Italian sausage
2 cups Marinara sauce
11/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Directions

Brown the sausage links in a skillet and add the marinara sauce. Simmer the sausage in the marinara sauce for 30 minutes. Remove the sausage and cut it into thin slices. Set aside.
Mix the marinara sauce with the pasta. Set aside.
Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan, parsley salt, and pepper. Mix with the pasta. Coat a 12-inch x 8-inch baking dish with olive oil spray.

Spread the pasta out in an even layer in the baking dish. Top with the sliced sausage and cover the top with slices of mozzarella.


Coat the dull side of a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place on the top of the baking dish. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 45 minutes, uncover the dish and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


This dish is always a big hit when I take it to a potluck dinner.

Meat Sauce

Ingredients

3-26-ounce containers chopped Italian tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound meatloaf mix( pork, veal, beef)
1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

To prepare the meat sauce
Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, meatloaf mix and pork sausage and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat until the meat changes color and the water it gives off is boiled away, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the meat is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings and bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pot. Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and takes on a deep, brick-red color, about 3 hours.

The sauce can be prepared entirely in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Lasagna

Ingredients

Meat Sauce (recipe above)
12 uncooked fresh lasagna noodles
2 containers (15 oz each) ricotta cheese
1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg.
Oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread about 2 cups of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place 4 fresh noodles on top of the sauce. Layer half of the mozzarella slices on top of the noodles. Spread half of the ricotta filling over the mozzarella. Add 4 more noodles. Spread with some of the meat sauce. Add remaining mozzarella slices, remaining ricotta filling and cover with 4 more noodles. Cover the noodles with a good amount of sauce. You may not need all of the sauce from the recipe above.

Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and place it face down on the lasagna and seal tightly. Heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the lasagna for45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top of the lasagna with Parmesan cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and cook for 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

To bring to a potluck-cover the dish again and place it in a thermal carrier.


For 2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup quick-cooking Italian farro (available at Whole Foods)
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large minced garlic clove
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large green bell peppers halved lengthwise and seeded
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese plus more for topping

Directions

Combine the farro, water, and salt in a microwave bowl. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Set aside the bowl without draining the farro while you prepare the stuffing.
Mix the Italian tomatoes with the red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Pour into a baking dish large enough to fit the peppers.
In a large skillet, cook the onion and olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add the beef and sausage. Cook until light brown. Let cool.
Drain the farro.
In a mixing bowl, combine the meat mixture with the farro, mozzarella cheese, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together..Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.


Place stuffed green bell pepper halves in the baking dish over the tomato sauce; cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, top each pepper with additional shredded mozzarella cheese and return the dish to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Sauteed Tuscan Kale

Ingredients

2 bunches Tuscan Kale
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Wash the kale thoroughly. Remove the stems and cut the leaves into smaller pieces. Heat olive oil and red pepper flakes in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers, and the red pepper flakes start to sizzle. Add the garlic. Working quickly, so the garlic does not burn, add the kale. (Some splattering and crackling of oil may occur from the water on the kale.) Using tongs, toss the kale in the pan for 2-4 minutes until the kale has wilted and cooked to desired tenderness. Keep the kale moving to avoid scorching any pieces. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving.


The recipe yields enough sauce and meat for 2 pounds of pasta. Serve this meal, as the Italians do, with a green salad.

Penne with Ricotta Cheese
1 lb whole grain penne pasta
1 lb Italian pork sausage, hot or sweet, cut into links
1 cup ricotta cheese, warmed in the microwave
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Soft and Tender Meatballs
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup milk
1 pound meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
3 (26-28-ounce) containers Italian crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

For the meatballs:
Combine the crushed saltines and milk in mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Mash with a fork until a smooth paste forms. Add the meat, Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the saltine mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Use a muffin/ice scoop to form 12 meatballs. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:
Combine oil and garlic in a large Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until the garlic is soft about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion softens about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes. Carefully place the meatballs into the sauce. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and place the Dutch Oven in the preheated oven.

Place one tablespoon olive oil il a separate baking pan and place the sausage links in the pan, turning to coat the sausages in oil. Place in the oven with the sauce. Bake until the sausages are brown, turning them over halfway through the baking time about 45 minutes. Add the sausages to the meatball/sauce mixture. Continue to bake the sauce for 15 minutes more.

For the pasta
Remove the Dutch Oven from the oven and place it on the stove, covered, while you cook the pasta. When the pasta is cooked al dente, return it to the pasta pan and add 2 cups of the tomato sauce, stir gently and add the Parmesan cheese. Stir again. Place the pasta in a pasta serving bowl. Drop tablespoons of warm ricotta cheese on top. Place some of the meatballs and sausage around the pasta and serve.


Sweet mini peppers are a hybrid sweet pepper, small in size and sold in assorted tri-color packs. They were originally developed in the late 1990s and range from 1.5 inches up to 4.0 inches. Each color is grown separately and consists of three separate varieties of seeds that have very similar characteristics in size, flavor, shape, and use. Their flavor and texture are similar to bell peppers but sweeter and with very few seeds.

Stuffed Mini Peppers

These little peppers are often used for appetizers but they also make for a delicious, easy dinner. Just add a side of coleslaw or salad and you have dinner.

Ingredients

8-10 oz. mini bell peppers
2 Mexican chorizo links, casing removed
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon cilantro paste
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 minced chipotle pepper with½ tablespoon chipotle sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. shredded Colby Jack cheese
Salsa for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
.Cook the chorizo and red onion over medium-low heat for 10 minutes in a small skillet. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Split the bell peppers lengthwise and remove the core.


Mix together the cream cheese, cooled chorizo mixture, spices and oil in a small bowl. Fill the bell peppers with the mixture and place them on a greased foil-lined baking pan.
Press shredded cheese on top of each pepper.


Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown
Serve with salsa, if desired.


When broccoli rabe shows up in my supermarket, I know spring is not far behind in my area.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a large sweet onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 container (26-28 ounces) chopped Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
8 ounces short pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions and add the broccoli rabe to the pot with the pasta. Cook for the remaining time. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Stir in tomato sausage sauce.

Transfer to an oiled 3-quart baking dish Top with diced mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling about 15 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.


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.



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