Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Here is a recipe that includes Italian sausages, fennel, and sun-dried tomatoes. Farfalle (pronounced far-fa-lay) translates to "butterflies". Get the onion, fennel, peppers, and garlic chopped up on a cutting board ready to toss into the skillet. Dinner in under 40 minutes!

2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages

1 T sea or kosher salt, for the pasta water
1 lb farfalle (butterfly) pasta

1 large sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freeze-dried or fresh basil, chopped
½ t red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup red or white wine
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into bitesize pieces

1 bunch Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped
½ cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the sausages for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat until brown on all sides. I put a splatter screen over my skillet to keep most of the grease from popping out on the stove.
Remove to a cutting board and discard grease and carefully wipe out or wash out skillet.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt.  Boil the farfalle pasta for 10 minutes.
Save 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.  Drain pasta and set aside.

In the same large clean skillet add the rest of the oil and cook the onion, fennel, and peppers over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring as needed.  
Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the wine and cook another minute.

Cut the sausages into ¼ inch circles and add to the skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes.  Add 1 cup of the pasta water and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Spoon in the pasta and add the basil, red pepper flakes and parsley.  
Toss to combine and add more pasta water, if needed.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the grated cheese and spoon pasta into 4 heated pasta bowls.
Serve with extra grated Pecorino Romano cheese at the table and a green salad...and of course a glass of vino rosso or vino bianco!

Serves 4

Sunday, October 28, 2018


If you like Italian sausage and eggplant, you will love this sauce over pasta. Dinner ready in 30 minutes!

1 medium firm eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 T sea salt
¼ cup avocado oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 t dried oregano
2 14-oz cans cherry tomatoes
1 cup red wine
½ cup finely diced fontina cheese
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh basil leave, chiffonade for garnish

Toss the eggplant with the tablespoon of salt in a colander.
Let colander sit for in sink 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water and let drain again and then blot dry between paper towels.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until brown, about 8 minutes.
Removed with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside.

Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Add the shallot and cook another 2 minutes, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano and cook another minute.

Return the sausage to the pan and stir to combine.
Add the two cans of cherry tomatoes, breaking up with a spoon as they cook.
Add the red wine and simmer another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 lb fusilli pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Drain pasta, saving some of the pasta cooking water in a cup.
Add pasta to pan and add a little pasta water as needed.

Add the grated cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with basil.

Serves 4

Monday, October 15, 2018


Frittatas are a delicious breakfast or brunch dish. It's even good for dinner! If you want to make this for only 4 people, cut the recipe in half and bake in a smaller skillet for only 30 minutes. It is also still delicious the next day if you have any leftovers. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
You can prepare this the night before, refrigerate the cooked pancetta, potatoes, bell pepper, and shallot in a covered container and the egg mixture in another covered container. Spoon the pancetta mixture into an oiled skillet and pour the egg mixture over and bake the morning you want to serve it.

¼ lb diced pancetta or good quality bacon
2 t avocado oil
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 large eggs
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup milk
4 oz fontina cheese, diced 
4 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
3 T chopped Italian parsley
1 T snipped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T unsalted butter

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a 10-inch ovenproof non-stick skillet, cook the pancetta or bacon over medium heat until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
Discard most of the grease, and add the oil and potatoes.
Slowly cook the potatoes, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove lid, raise heat to medium, and cook potatoes another 3 minutes until golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ricotta, milk, fontina, Parmigiano, basil, parsley, and chives.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Add the butter to the skillet with the potatoes and sauté the bell pepper shallot over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Add the pancetta and the beaten egg mixture.

Place the skillet in the center of the oven and bake the frittata until it is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Cut into 8 wedges and serve immediately.