Sunday, October 28, 2018

FUSILLI WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGES, EGGPLANT & TOMATOES

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



Thursday, October 11, 2018

PENNE WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGES & PEPPERS

This dish comes together in about 40 minutes, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner. I think this will be one of your favorites. I use two skillets, but you can use just one large skillet, and you will have to wash it after you finish cooking the sausages. If it's just the two of you, make the entire recipe and have it another weeknight for dinner...that works for us making life easier.





1 lb Italian sausage (about 5 links)
2 T extra-light olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t freeze-dried or fresh oregano 
1 cup dry red wine
1 lb penne pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat. 
Add the sausages and cook for about 20 minutes, turning often. 
Remove to a cutting board and let cool.

In a large skillet that will hold the sauce and pasta, add the rest of the oil and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the bell peppers and sauté another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and continue to cook another minute.
Turn off heat to the skillet while slicing sausages.

Slice the sausages diagonally into bite-size pieces and return to the skillet along with any juices on the cutting board.
Add the oregano and wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile boil penne in salted water for about 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente.
Drain and add to the skillet with the rest of the ingredients.

Divide between four warm pasta bowls and drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with the basil leaves, grated cheese, and serve.

Serves 4








Tuesday, October 9, 2018

PEAR TART - Crostata di Pere

Mascarpone is a creamy Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. The cows are fed special grasses filled with herbs and flowers so they produce milk that is perfect for making this cheese. Mascarpone cheese can be found in grocery stores in 8-ounce (250-ml) containers.





1 ¼ cups pastry or all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 t finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of sea salt
4 T cold unsalted butter (½ stick), cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup cold cream or half-and-half (half cream)

Place the flour, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
Add the butter and pulse a few more seconds.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk and cream until combined.
With the motor running, pour the egg yolk mixture down the feed tube of the food processor and pulse just until the dough comes together.

Turn out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap up, flattening and forming the dough into a disc. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to fit a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Press the dough carefully up the sides, then roll off overhang with your rolling pin and remove.
Cut a round piece of parchment paper, to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the dough. Place over the dough and add about 2 cups pie weights or dried beans on top of the parchment paper. 
Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly and remove paper and weights.

Mascarpone Cheese Filling
¾ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ t pure vanilla extract
1 T all-purpose flour

In a medium bowl, stir together the mascarpone cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and flour until well combined. Pour into the cooled tart shell and smooth the surface.

3 medium-size ripe Anjou or Bosc pears
¼ cup unsalted hazelnuts, chopped
2 T granulated sugar

3 T apricot jelly
2 T Calvados or peach brandy

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.

Peel and cut the pears in half and remove the core with a melon baller or a spoon.
Arrange in the tart shell with the narrower ends pointing towards the center.
If necessary, trim the pears to fit into the tart.
Scatter the hazelnuts over the pears and sprinkle the sugar on top.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and the pears are soft.

Heat the apricot jelly in a small saucepan, or microwave it just until warm.
Turn off heat and add the Calvados or peach brandy and mix to combine.
Brush over the pears.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cut each slice with a half pear on top.

Serves 6