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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

A classic Italian combination is a slice of meat paired with fruit like prosciutto with melon or even figs. Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes (seedless green, red, or both) is a roller coaster for your taste buds combining flavors and textures.

Seedless green or red grapes, when in season, are bursting with sweetness.

This dish is usually served with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. I’m changing up the traditional Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes. I’m going to be adding potatoes, a perfect accompaniment to this dish, a complete one-pot meal. Potatoes were a huge part of my mom’s recipes. I suppose this is where my English influence comes into play.  I’m not stopping there, for some added color and flavor, roasted sweet bell peppers, YUM!

There are a couple of different ways you can make this dish, you can choose to use half hot and half sweet Italian pork sausage, that’s traditional. You could even substitute Italian style turkey sausage or Italian style chicken sausage. I’m going to use a leaner and less fatty option, mild Italian chicken sausage for this recipe.

If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. They add amazing sweetness to this dish. A perfect harmony of savory and sweet flavors. Let’s get started.

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

You can see above how much leaner the Italian chicken sausage is from the traditional Italian pork sausage.

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Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (18)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: large 11 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients:
2-packages (10 links) Italian chicken sausage (substitute 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet, Italian pork sausage, or Italian style turkey sausage)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 2-pound bag petite red potatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
6 cups of seedless green grapes, halved
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoon dry Chianti (red wine)
1 quart plus a 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 4-6 sprigs for individual servings, to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pan juices

Directions:
Note: Cooking Times may vary slightly. If any or a few of the potatoes are larger than most, cut the larger ones into quarters. The potatoes need to be similar in size.
First, slice the potatoes in half.
Add the halved potatoes into a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. On medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes up to a boil. Continue boiling the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until just fork tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Note: Cooking times may vary slightly.
Using a fork prick each of the sausage links 3 times on each side. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth into a large sauce pot, similar to the one in the picture above. Place the 10 sausage links into the pot (make sure the liquid covers the sausage links, add water if needed), turn the heat to medium, and cover. Parboil the sausages until grey throughout, about 12-15 minutes.

The parboiled sausages and potatoes should be done around the same time.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
While the potatoes and sausages are on the stove being parboiled, prep the grapes, peppers, onion, and garlic placing them into a large mixing bowl. Add  1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat with oil and seasoning.

Next, using tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate lined with paper towel. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. This will allow (because the pot is still very hot) any excess water to evaporate from the potatoes. Set the pot aside for a minute. Once the potatoes are free of any excess water, move onto the next step.

Place the potatoes into the baking dish first. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, toss to coat all the potatoes. Add the grapes, peppers, onions, and garlic mixture to the baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, place the Italian chicken sausage links on top. Pour the chicken stock and red wine all over the top. Finally, place the 3 sprigs of rosemary on top.

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Turning the sausage links halfway through the cooking process. This allows for both sides to brown really well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Using a ladle remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the baking dish to keep everything warm.

Directions For Balsamic Glaze:
Using a ladle, remove the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish to a measuring cup. In a small sauce pot, pour in the cooking liquid. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to medium-high, whisking occasionally, cook allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce and become thick and syrupy around 5 minutes.

Pour the Balsamic Glaze over the sausages and grapes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

To serve:
Bring the baking dish right to the table Set on a using a trivet. Serve hot and family style.

 

 

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Farro Breakfast Bowl

Farro Breakfast Bowl (3)

Farro is an ancient grain from Rome. Its delicious nutty flavor, and slightly chewy texture, reminds me a lot of barley. Farro has been a long time coming. You just couldn’t get your hands on it anywhere! Now, it’s readily available in your local grocery store.

I’m showing two pictures here, one above, topped with an egg, and one below without. That’s where Steve and I have a strong difference of opinion. I’m not even sure if “opinion” is the even the right word. I’m no fan of the fried egg.  To be fair though, eggs are a big part of breakfast and Steve loves them, so that’s the reason for two pictures.

Anyway, this Farro breakfast bowl is easy to make while combining flavor, color, and texture. Here’s how this dish comes together.

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Let’s talk about Farro

 

I took a screenshot of this brand, because it’s the one I’m used for this dish. You know I love to take help from the grocery store, this cooks up in about 25 minutes, and includes some Porcini mushrooms. I’m SOLD!

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Equipment: large saute pan, sauce pan with tight fitting lid.

Ingredients:
1 package of cooked Farro with Porcini mushrooms
1 pound, cooked bulk Italian sausage ( casings removed)
1 small can white shoepeg corn (rinsed and drained)
1 cup diced red bell pepper ( 1 med size pepper)
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper ( 1 med size pepper)
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup Pistachios (optional)
7 ounces diced Feta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped chives
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint
1 fried egg (optional, cooked to the temperature of your choosing)

Instuctions For Farro:
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Follow the instructions on the back of the package. Feel free to use either water or unsalted chicken stock for cooking the Farro. In place of the butter on the package, I use olive oil. Cook the sausage while the Farro is cooking.

Directions:
Start by cooking the Farro. While the Farro is cooking on very low heat, in a large non-stick saute pan on medium heat, start browning off the Italian sausage. I don’t add any oil to the pan because the sausage will release its own fat, plus it browns nicely. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage. Don’t worry about the sausage bits sticking to the pan because once the vegetables are added, they will release their water which will allow those bits to be released. Once the sausage is about 70% cooked, and there is no more pink color showing, add in the vegetables, Kosher salt and black pepper.  Continue stirring, and scraping as much of those brown bits off the bottom of the pan, that’s all flavor! Saute until the onions are translucent, all the vegetables have softened and the sausage is nicely browned and fully cooked.

In a large bowl, add the cooked Farro and shoepeg white corn. Using a slotted spoon, add the sausage and vegetable mixture. Next, add the pistachios (optional),  Parmesan cheese, diced feta cheese, and fresh herbs, then toss.

Finish by adding the Farro mixture into a serving bowl and top with a fried egg, or not. Serve hot!

 

 

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Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta

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This recipe is one that brings comfort food and bold flavors together, and that’s all you really want to achieve, in a great dish. I’ts really easy to make. Let me tell you how I pull this together.

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Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time `1 hour 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 sheet pans, 1 large saucepan, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, grilled and sliced
1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth or stock
2 cups 1 inch diced zucchini
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 red onion diced
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of finely Julienned fresh basil leaves
Creamy Polenta (recipe below)

Directions For Sweet Itaian Sausage:
In a large sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, add 1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth. Using a fork prick all the sausage link on both sides ( 3 sets on each side) to allow for faster cooking.  Turn the heat to med- high, place the links into the saucepan, and place the lid on tight. Let the chicken broth come up to a hard boil.  The sausage links steam for about 10 minutes, turning them, once, halfway through the process.

Transfer the sausage links onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any liquid from the steaming process.  Next, place the links onto an indoor grill pan that’s been preheated. On med-high heat, grill the sausages for 3-5 minutes per side. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Once the links all have nice grill marks, transfer to a cutting board and slice links, on the bias.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the vegetables, minced garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper into a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour the vegetables onto two sheet pans, spread out evenly into one layer ( this way they will roast and not steam!). Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown.

Lower the heat to 350 degrees F., Add the slices of grilled Italian sausage to the pans with the roasted veggies and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the all veggies and sausage to a large bowl, add the basil and toss. Serve over hot creamy Polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta: serves 6-8
3 cups of unsalted chicken broth
3 cups half and half
1 tablespoon of grated garlic
1-1/2 cups stone-ground corn meal
1 tablespoonKosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup room temperature Mascarpone cheese
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter, diced

D;irections:
Combine the chicken stock, half and half, and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and very slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously to make sure there are no lumps.

Sitch to a wooden spoon, add 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pepper, and simmer over very low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. (cooking time may vary slightly .) Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while stirring. Off the heat add the Mascarpone, grated Parmesan cheese and butter. Taste for seasoning.

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I took this salad to a graduation celebration and it  was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients, has had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this ASAP!

If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

The directions are basically two to one. Two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Cooking quinoa is very similar to cooking rice.  Follow the directions on the back of the package, then all you need to do is to add the other ingredients.

Many times I’ll toast the quinoa first. this adds another layer of flavor to the quinoa. All you do for that is to add canola oil ( a neutral oil), add your quinoa and stir over med-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Next, you’ll add the boiling liquid to the pot and follow the timing directions on the package.

 

Whenever I’m adding different vegetables to a salad, I like to make sure they are about the same size. You can see above how I diced up the hothouse cucumber (English cucumber), the grape tomatoes are just halved.

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Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (add 6-8 minutes cooking time if you are toasting quinoa)
Total Time: 22-24 minutes

Ingredients:
1-12 ounce package=1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups of vegetable stock (optional choices are water or low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 diced red onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced orange bell pepper
2 cup of diced feta cheese
1-1/2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
2 cups of diced hothouse cucumber
1/4 cup of fresh basil- Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley ( dried 1 tablespoon)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Toasting and Cooking Quinoa:
First, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking.
Best with pot with a glass fitting lid.

In a pot, on med-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil ( any neutral oil). Add in the quinoa. Stir slowly coating all the quinoa with the oil. Continue stirring for about 6-8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown.

Directions:
In a another pot have you liquid ( vegetable stock) at a boil. Add the boiling liquid to the quinoa. Give a stir and cover. Turn the heat down to low simmer. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, the quinoa is done. It’s really important to keep your eye on the quinoa, it cook pretty fast. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool down for about 5 minutes.  I use a fork to fluff the quinoa around in the pot it helps it to cool down quicker.

While the quinoa is cooking dice up all the vegetables, zest and juice of a lemon, dice the feta, and place into a large bowl.  Add in the cooled cooked quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss through gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving I like to add a drizzle of really good E.V.O.O.

 

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