Tag Archives: Italian sausage

Sausage and Clams With Polenta

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Serves 4
Ingredients:

For the  polenta, See the following recipe
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch broccoli rabe, florets chopped, or 1/2 head escarole, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages, cut into chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup dry white wine
16 littleneck clams, scrubbed
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Prepare the polenta and keep warm, until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper and cook until the broccoli rabe is slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the sausage to the pot and cook until just brown, breaking it up with a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes.

Add the clams; cover and cook over medium-high heat until the clams open, 5 to 7 minutes (discard any that do not open). Return the broccoli rabe to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Divide the polenta among bowls and top with the sausage-clam mixture and cooking liquid. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

 

Creamy Polenta

 Serves 6

 Ingredients:
5 cups water, milk, or chicken or vegetables stock (See Cook’s Notes)
1 cup medium or coarse yellow cornmeal (See Cook’s Notes)
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil

 

Directions:
Pre-soak the  cornmeal, which requires advance planning but cuts cooking time roughly in half, combine water with cornmeal in a large mixing bowl and let stand, covered, at room temperature overnight. When ready to cook, scrape soaked cornmeal and water into a large saucier or saucepan and set over high heat.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Let boil, stirring frequently, until polenta thickens enough that it starts to  sputter or “spit”. Lower heat immediately to prevent spitting and continue to cook, stirring frequently with a spoon or silicone spatula and scraping bottom to prevent scorching, until polenta becomes thick and pulls away from side of saucepan, for  about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Stir in butter or olive oil using either a spoon, silicon spatula, or whisk. If the polenta forms lumps, beat vigorously with a stiff whisk to remove the lumps. If polenta becomes too firm or begins to set, add a small amount of water, stock, or milk, and beat in with a whisk until fully incorporate and no lumps remain.

Serve right away with accompaniment of your choice, or scrape into a vessel and chill until set, then cut into pieces for grilling, searing, or frying.

Cook’s Notes:
Any medium or coarse cornmeal will work here, whether the package says “polenta” or not; avoid instant polenta, which promises a quick cooking time in exchange for sub-par flavor and texture.

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Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel and Mushroom

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Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise, fronds chopped
1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage coarsely crumbled
One 8-ounce package sliced fresh baby bella mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
One 16-ounce fresh tortellini with 3-cheese filling
One 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional, for serving

Directions:
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel bulb, sausage, and mushrooms; sauté until sausage is brown and cooked through and fennel is almost tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds; stir 1 minute. Stir in cream, then 1 cup broth; boil until liquid is reduced and very slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini; return to same pot.

Add sausage mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until blended. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, and serve, passing additional cheese.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Zuppa Toscana

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I love the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.

I loved it so much I decided only recently to make it home. This creamy concoction has Italian sausage, hearty potatoes and just a hint of heat with the crushed red pepper flakes. The ingredients are a perfect combination if there ever was one, not to mention the velvety-rich broth that warms us from the inside out. The ingredients list is budget-friendly and, while it tastes indulgent, there is also a hefty amount of leafy greens, making this soup one of the healthiest dishes out there.

 

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into wedges then halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large white onion, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups kale or Swiss chard or baby spinach, rinsed, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove an drain on paper towels and set aside.

Leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the sausage in the bottom of the Dutch oven, stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven over the onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the kale into the soup just before serving. Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Stove Top Pizza

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There is an Australian company called “The Chef’s Toolbox” that has an extraordinary line of culinary tools and kitchen gadget to make the home cook’s life a little easier. Their specialty line of cookware that is featured by the company is the Como Advanced™  line, which is touted as  exceptional cookware for serious cooking. The cookware come in a   a modern charcoal matte finish,  with a hard-anodized exterior and non-stick interior. The cookware is perfect for stovetop (including induction) and oven cooking.

The also have a collection of amazing recipe showing you how to use their tools bakeware and cookware  as well.

I found out about the company when  a friend shared a Chef’s Toolbox Video demonstrating the recipe for “Stove Top Pizza”, which was cooked in a specialized Como Advanced™ 28 cm saute pan as seen below.The pan sells for $235.00 AUD, which is about $182.00 U. S. Dollars. I have seen the Como Advanced line featured on Amazon.com, but I do not think the saute pan is widely available in the United States.

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Photo Credit: Chef’s Toolbox, 2015

I did not have a Como Advanced™ saute pan, but I do have a 12 inch cast iron skillet by Lodge  and a heavy glass lid, which worked out as perfectly in making this dish.

Here is the recipe and I hope that you will enjoy this one skillet meal that takes less than 25 minutes. It makes for on small pizza that is perfectly suited to serve two people.Making a freshly homemade  pizza on a stove top is much more  quicker than waiting via delivery or take out or even baking a frozen pizza in your oven. Trust me, you are going to love it.

Serve 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast**
1 teaspoon honey
2/3 cup warm water, 110-115 Degrees F


For the Sauce:

1 can diced roma tomatoes, drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon good quality red wine


For the Toppings:
***
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 cooked Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/8 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup baby spinach, torn


Directions:

Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 12-inch oven proof skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.

For the Sauce:Pulse drained tomatoes, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon olive oil  and the red wine together in a small food processor until coarsely ground. Remove from the processor and set aside.

To the skillet, add dry ingredients (self-rising flour, all-purpose flour, salt, yeast) and stir until combined. Add the honey and the water and stir until a stick dough forms. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Spread the sauce over dough, leaving ½-inch border at edge. Sprinkle most of the mozzarella evenly over sauce. Add sausage and spread it evenly on top. Scatter the shallots an sprinkle the basil and oregano evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Set skillet over medium heat and cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until outside edge of dough is set, pizza is lightly puffed, and bottom crust is starting to get cooked when gently lifted with spatula, about 4 to 6 minutes

Reduce the heat to low , rotate the skillet 180 degrees and continue to cook covered with a lid for another 10 minutes. When done, the cheese should be nicely melted. Carefully remove skillet from burner. With two  flat spatulas, carefully lift pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with fresh torn spinach. Let pizza cool for a couple minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.
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Cook’s Notes:
In using quick rapid rise yeast, there are two very good brands to consider:

Red Star and Fleischmann’s, both which come in a jar and in individual packets.
The jars sell for about $5.00 and the individual sell for about $1.80 at most local grocery stores. I prefer buying it buy the jar, because I do bake a lot. Once the jar is opened, it must be refrigerated.

Fleischmann’s also offers a yeast specifically made to be used in pizza dough. I have not tried this product yet, but it does look promising.

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*SUBSTITUTION TIP: You can use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose white flour, if desired.

Also note that you desire a chewier crust, use bread flour. If you desire a  Neapolitan style pizza (made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala Campana, cheese made with the milk from water buffalo) , use San Felice Tipo 00 Flour or  Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour which creates a light crust that is crisp on the outside but tender to the bite.

Tipo 0 or Tipo 00 denotes that it is a tender wheat flour.

When making authentic Neapolitan pizza, I prefer Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour,  because it an is an old world, authentic Naples-style flour that holds up to the high temperatures required for pizza making. It is finely milled with a soft texture, yielding a crispy crust every time. Anna Type “00” Flour is an excellent choice for any of your baking needs.It is also more widely available in most local grocery stores.

**SUBSTITUTION TIP: If you don’t have instant or rapid rise yeast, use 1 teaspoon (instead of ¾ teaspoon) of active dry yeast and proof it first. Just dissolve it in a little warm (110 degrees) tap water and a pinch of sugar. Wait until it gets foamy, like a beer from the tap. When the mixture is foamy, add it to the flour mixture and proceed as normal.

***ABOUT THE TOPPINGS: You can use any toppings of your choice, as desired.