Archive for the ‘Sausage’ category

Sausage and peppers on polenta

October 17, 2022

Polenta is a great thing, but many people shy away from it because of the work involved, which mainly consists of 30 minutes or more standing at the stove stirring. But if you have a microwave–and who doesn’t–this drudgery can be avoided with results that are 100% as good. And this dish and many others can become an everynight thing.

The Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 c coarse corn meal
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-4 TB crumbled/grated cheese such as gorgonzola (or other blue cheese), romano, parmesan, etc.

You need a 2 quart souffle or similar baking dish. A round dish makes stirring easier but is not essential. The cooking times depend on the power of your oven, so pay attention.

Put the corn meal, water, and salt in the baking dish and stir to make sure there are no lumps. Put in the microwave on high power for 6-8 minutes. Stir well, cover with a paper towel (in case of splatters), and cook on high for another 6-8 minutes. Stir again and if it’s still thinner than you like (it will thicken a bit more when it sits) cook for a minute or two more.

Remove from the oven and stir in the butter, cheese, and a bit of pepper if you like. Let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes and serve.

The Sausage and Peppers

A very simple yet tasty topping for the polenta.

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 4 links Italian sausage cut into 1/2 inch coins
  • 4 red/yellow/orange bell peppers, stemmed and seeded and cut into pinky-size strips
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick half rings
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

Put the first 5 ingedients in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring now and then, until everything is cooked thru and starting to brown just a bit. Put in the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. For a saucier result, add the tomato juice. Correct seasoning and serve over the polenta.

Pasta with sausage, bitter greens, and mascarpone

January 5, 2014

This delightful and quick recipe is courtesy of my son, Benjamin. You want a short pasta for this such as orchiette, cavatelli, rotini, or penne rigate. For the bitter greens you have lots of choices – arugula, radish greens, mustard greens, and in fact a mix is nice. This serves 4 and makes excellent leftovers.

4 links mild Italian sausage, casings removed (about 1 lb)
1/2 c diced onion
1 lb pasta as described above
8 oz greens, torn up if needed, washed and shaken dry, setting a cup or so aside for garnish if desired.
1 c mascarpone cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta “al dente” per package directions. Drain  (keep hot) and reserve some of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, use a wide skillet to saute the sausage and onions in a little bit of olive oil, crumbling the sausage, until cooked through and just starting to brown. If the sausage has rendered more fat than you want, remove it (the fat, not the sausage! See note below). Add the oregano and greens and cook for another couple of minutes. Add a cup of the reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add pasta and marscapone, stirring so the cheese blends in to form a light sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Put in individual serving bowls and, if  desired, garnish with the reserved uncooked greens.

Note: A quick way to remove excess fat from a skillet is to push to food to one side and tip the pan so the fat collects opposite the food. Ball up a napkin or paper towel, hold it with tongs or chopsticks, and use it to soak up the excess fat.

Grilled polenta with sausage

February 4, 2012

This is a lovely and unusual way to prepare polenta. See below for a vegetarian version.

1-1/4 c coarse polenta (cornmeal)
4 c water
1 tsp salt
3 TB unsalted butter
12 oz sweet or hot Italian sausage

Combine the polenta, water, and salt in a 2-3 quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for a total of about 8-10 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Stir in the butter. Meanwhile slice or crumble the sausage and saute until cooked thru. Drain off the fat, mix the sausage with the polenta, and turn into a greased or buttered loaf pan. Smooth out the top, let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours.

To serve, slice the solidified polenta into slices about 1 inch thick then saute carefully in a nonstick pan, using some butter or olive oil, until browned on both sides. I like to serve this with a simple tomato sauce.

Vegetarian variation: Instead of sausage, use a combination of onion, zucchini, and mushrooms.

Boudin blanc

May 1, 2011

This is a wonderful French sausage, one of my favorites. It is very different from the equally good Cajun sausage of the same name. You can put it in casings or simply make patties. It can be frozen but it is best eaten fresh.

1/2 lb lean pork
1/2 lb skinned boneless chicken breast
1/2 lb pork fat*
1/2 c chopped onion
1 TB butter
2/3 c heavy cream
1/2 c good quality white bread, crusts removed, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 TB salt
1 large egg
1 egg white
about 3 feet hog casings

Sauté onion in butter until translucent, then cool. Scald cream and pour over bread, stir in salt and spices, then cool. Grind pork, chicken, and fat using the coarse grinding disk. Mix all ingredients and stuff into casings or form into patties.

* Plain pork fat can be difficult to find. A perfectly good and widely available substitute is fatback. Because fatback is salted, it should be rinsed, cut into finger size pieces (remove the rind), and soaked in cold water for half an hour, then drained before grinding. There will still be some residual salt so you’ll need to reduce the recipe’s added salt. In my experience  you’ll need 1/3 to 1/2 of the salt called for in the recipe if you use fatback. To be safe, make the forcemeat without any added salt, pan fry a small patty and taste for salt, then add as needed.

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