Italian

Sault Ste Marie Hot & Sweet Breakfast Sausage

Nick, my husband’s Canadian coworker, is rapidly becoming a favorite and preferred contributor to Sadie’s Nest. I’ve told you before about the great support I receive from my husband’s colleagues. It’s awesome. This is the second recipe Nick has passed along. (The first is a bread recipe which I have yet to post… Some of you know my mental angst with my bread making skills.) Not only did he give step-by-step instructions for the sausage, but he sent pictures! And btw, it’s really delicious. I love this simple spicy and sweet breakfast sausage, but not nearly as much as I love Nick’s description, “Enjoy with a loved one. Goes with anything: coffee, red wine, white wine, gin and tonic, beer, eggs, homefries, can also have for breakfast, lunch, supper, snack.” How can I beat that? Brilliant. Thank you Nick!

3.3 lbs (1.5 KG) hot italian sausage
1/4 cup Fennel
2/3 cup Maple Syrup
Remove sausage from wrapping. (I used a knife… Nick used scissors… Whatever works for you!)

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Add fennel (adjust amount as you like)

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Add syrup.

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Mix by hand.

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Make a ball about size of a baseball. (I laughed really hard at this instruction.)

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Put 3 in a large frypan at med heat.

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Cook for 1 min, flip, flatten with spatula for faster cooking.

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Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for 5 minutes more.

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Move to a plate and let sit for a few minutes.

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Enjoy with a loved one. Goes with anything: coffee, red wine, white wine, gin and tonic, beer, eggs, homefries, can also have for breakfast, lunch, supper, snack… I enjoyed mine with a large slice of raw milk organic cheddar and a biscuit. It was stellar.

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Thanks again Nick!

Sault Ste. Marie Hot & Sweet Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients

  • 3.3 lbs (1.5 KG) hot italian sausage
  • 1/4 cup Fennel
  • 2/3 cup Maple Syrup

Instructions

  1. Remove sausage from wrapping
  2. Add fennel (adjust amount as you like)
  3. Add maple syrup (adjust type and amount as you like, real maple syrup ideally)
  4. Mix by hand
  5. Make a ball about size of a baseball
  6. Put 3 in a large frypan at med heat.
  7. Cook for 1 min, flip, flatten with spatula for faster cooking.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for 5 minutes more.
  9. Move to a plate and let sit for a few minutes
  10. Enjoy with a loved one. Goes with anything: coffee, red wine, white wine, gin and tonic, beer, eggs, homefries, can also have for breakfast, lunch, supper, snack...
http://sadiesnest.com/sault-ste-marie-hot-sweet-breakfast-sausage/

Fried Ravioli

Little soft pillows of creamy cheese… coated in a blend of bread crumbs, Parmesan, and Italian herbs… fried into crispy golden perfection… A little warm marinara for dipping on the side… It’s a good day… dolce vita.

As organic as possible:

2o oz. frozen Cheese Ravioli

3/4 cup Flour

5 eggs

8 oz Parmesan & Italian Herb Bread Crumbs

2 tsp salt

3-4 cups of frying oil (give or take depending on the size of your skillet) such as Canola or Peanut

Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

 

This is a perfect example of how prepping your work area first makes the job a lot easier. In 3 separate shallow baking dishes (brownie pans, small casserole dishes, etc.) place the flour, whisk the eggs, and toss the Parmesan & Herbed bread crumbs with the salt. Heat your oil on the high end of medium. The oil is ready when you sprinkle a small amount of flour in it and it starts to sizzle. You only need a couple inches of depth.

While you’re waiting for your oil to get hot, take the frozen ravioli and dip it in the egg, coating it completely. Dip the egg covered ravioli in the flour, covering it, and lightly shaking off the extra. Then put the ravioli back into the whisked eggs, covering it again, and lastly into the bread crumb mixture. Make sure to get every area of the cheesy pouch coated with the delicious salty herbed bread crumbs. Repeat. Make sure you have a a few ready to go before you start to fry.

When the oil is ready, fry the raviolis in batches of about 4 or 5 at a time (to not lower the temperature oil too much). After about a minute, flip the ravioli and let it cook another half to whole minute. Using a slotted spoon or something similar remove the raviolis to a paper towel-lined plate. When raviolis are fried, transfer to serving dish of your choice and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, (maybe even freshly chopped parsley if you’re into that sort of thing) accompanied by some warmed marinara sauce for dipping. Buon Appetito!

 

 

 

Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Parm

Sometimes you get a craving and nothing else but a cheesy, salty, crusted piece of moist chicken will do. (Clearly I’m not a vegetarian.) This chicken is coated with a mix of Parmesan and Asiago, for maximum tantalizing flavor. It’s got a crispy outside and is moist on the inside, and it’s baked not fried. So basically it’s guilt-free. It’s great on it’s own, but I love it with my favorite marinara and pasta to make an easy Italian classic, Chicken Parmesan. Yum!

As organic as possible:

4 Chicken breast cut into strips (2-3 per breast lengthwise)

3/4 cup Mayonnaise (you can substitute with light mayo)

1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

2-3 Tbsp (rounded) freshly grated Asiago

Preheat oven to 425°. Place mayo in a small bowl, set aside. In a shallow baking dish mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cheeses. Dredge each piece of chicken in the mayo, so that it has a nice even coating, removing excess. (You’re going to get your hands messy, but it’s worth it.) Then roll coated chicken around in bread crumb mixture until completely covered. Place covered chicken strips on a baking sheet (or two). Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, and crust is browned and crispy.

While chicken is cooking, prepare noodles and warm your favorite marinara sauce for serving. (It hardly gets easier for a weeknight meal than that!) Top with more freshly grated Parmesan… Enjoy!

Double Chocolate-Almond Biscotti

I can eat biscotti all day without guilt. Maybe because its called biscotti (Italian for a twice baked cookie), it doesn’t register. I think I’ve tried it all. There hasn’t been one variation I didn’t like. Besides, that second round in the oven probably got rid of anything bad for me, right?

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup Butter, softened

3/4 cup Sugar (rounded)

1 tsp Almond extract

1/4 cup Cocoa powder

2 tsp Baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

2 Eggs

1 3/4 cup Flour

1/2 cup Milk Chocolate chips or pieces

1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate chips or pieces

1 cup Sliced, slivered, or chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly grease a cookie sheet, set aside. In a stand-up electric mixer or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer or with your mighty hand, beat butter, sugar and almond extract. Add cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add eggs, one at a time. Add flour, a third at a time, until combined. Remove bowl from mixer. Add milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and almond pieces, gently fold until incorporated.

Separate dough into to halves. Taking one half of the dough portion into your hands, shape into a log about 9″ long. Place onto the baking sheet lengthwise and gently press down to lightly flatten. Repeat with the other half. Place into the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325º. Place cookie loaf onto a cutting board and cut diagonally with a serrated knife. Place cut side down and bake for 8-9 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for an additional 8-9 minutes, until crisp. Let cool. Serve with coffee or hot cocoa for dipping or all alone.

Lasagna

It’s not just Garfield who loves lasagna! I have explained to you before our high regard for Italian cooking. When the smell of garlic bread and baked pasta is in the house I want to pour a glass of vino, raise my voice a little and hug my babies. I can’t help myself, without any actuality I’m part Italian.

As organic as possible:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Yellow onion, diced
3-4 Cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs Ground hamburger (I prefer lean)
2 jars Homemade or store bought pasta sauce (about 50 oz)
1 lb Lasagna noodles

8 oz Cottage cheese
16 oz Ricotta cheese
8 oz Fresh Mozzarella, shredded and divided
3/4 cup Grated Parmesan, divided
1/4-1/2 tsp Salt
1/8-1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Granulated garlic
1 tsp dried basil

Lasagna requires a few steps, but the difficulty is low. And once assembled it’s a make ahead dish that’s easy to throw in the oven, bake and serve.

Preheat the oven to 350º

I like to start with my sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat, add diced onion and let sauté about 2 minutes. Add garlic and let sauté another minute. Add beef, let cook until browned and drain. Pour in sauce and stir. Allow to simmer. Taste! Add seasonings accordingly.

In the meantime, start boiling pasta water and cook according to package directions (remember to salt your water and keep in mind the noodles are supposed to be “al dente,” still maintaining a little bite because they will continue to soften when in the oven). Drain and rinse the pasta under cool water to stop the cooking process and make the noodles easier to handle during assembly.

In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta, 2/3 of the shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, granulated garlic and basil. (Side note: I love cottage cheese in my lasagna; it has a tangy salty zing that I prefer over ricotta, and I have made my cheesy filling with it alone. However, ricotta gives that little bit of creaminess that cottage cheese in general is lacking, so I prefer the combination). Taste! Some cheeses are saltier than others, you want each part of your layering to taste equally delicious, so if this is flat add more salt and/or pepper now.

Ok. You’ve made it this far, so you might as well finish what you’ve started! In a large baking dish (or a 13X9 dish will do) place just enough sauce on the bottom, smearing it all over, so your noodles won’t stick. Line your noodles closely to each other so that you completely cover the pan (trimming noodles to fit like a puzzle if necessary). Using about a 1/3 of your cheese mixture spread the creamy goodness all over the noodles. Next use about a third of your pasta sauce to layer on top of the cheese. Repeat with the noodles and continue with cheese and sauce until you are out (you will most likely have left over noodles).

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. (I did not forget about the remaining cheese…) When the kitchen timer goes off (or after you have watched the clock relentlessly for 30 minutes), carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and turn the oven up to 425º. Take off the aluminum foil and on the top layer of sauce, evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/3 shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Place back into the oven uncovered for about 15 minutes until cheese is browned and dish is perfect!

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to serve. Not only will you spare the skin on the roof of your mouth, but this gives your dish time to set and will allow for you to cut into it without it spreading.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda-Parm Baked Ziti

How many ingredients can you fit into the name of your dish? No matter. This pasta dish is perfect. It’s cheesy and saucy, noodle-y and yummy.  It’s somewhat traditional with a modern twist. I mean come on, let’s eat already.

Serves 8

As organic as possible:

2 red peppers

1 medium tomato

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil

1 tsp sugar, rounded

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

8 oz Gouda-Parmesan cheese (such as Trader Joe’s) freshly grated

2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 lb Ziti (or Penne…)
There are a couple steps to this recipe, but you can do this, and it’s worth it! Wash and dry your peppers and tomato. Then over a flame burner or grill, char the skins of the peppers and tomato until there is black on all sides. Place the charred veggies (and fruit) in an air tight container or plastic bag and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Remove charred skins from the fire roasted peppers and tomato. Slice the peppers into strips and discard stems and seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes  and place all of the roasted produce in a food processor. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and purée.

In a large pot, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and cook the ziti (or penne, or what-have-you) about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions. Strain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Place noodles back in the pot and set aside.

In the mean time heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add pepper purée, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Let simmer/sauté for 10-15 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and pepper. Stir and check for seasonings. Add salt, herbs and sugar as necessary. (Keeping in mind cheese will be salty too.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let the sauce simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.

Add the sauce to the noodles and gently stir to coat. Add Gouda-Parm and Parmesan to the noodle mixture and gently toss to distribute cheese evenly. Place half of the noodle mixture in a large baking dish. Place half of the mozzarella slices sporadically on top of the pasta. Layer the rest of the pasta-cheese mixture and top again with the remaining mozzarella slices. *Dish can be prepared ahead of time to this point. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until mozzarella is melted and pasta is baked to perfection. Let pasta cool slightly before serving. Enjoy yourself, it’s a dolce vita.

Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta

We love pasta. We have it so often we should be Italian. This dish is so flavorful and easy to make. If you’ve never made your own sauce before, this recipe is a great start. The garlic infused tomato-basil sauce practically makes itself.

Serves 6

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

12 oz Sweet Italian Sausages

5-6 cloves garlic minced

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 + 1 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

Freshly cracked pepper

28 oz crushed tomatoes (with basil preferred)

1 lb penne pasta

1 Tbsp salt

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan plus more for topping

1 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade, rolled then sliced (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the sausages and brown on all sides (all possible sides, as sometimes they curl up loosely like the letter U). Remove the sausages and set aside on a cutting board. Place the garlic into the skillet and let cook about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and sugar to the sautéed garlic, stir; scraping any sausage and/or garlic from the bottom of the pan and into the sauce. Add oregano, basil and pepper (just a sprinkling). Stir and let simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. Let the flavors fuse and develop about 15 -20 minutes. In the mean-time, in a pot, bring water to boil and add about a tablespoon of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions, without need to strain the pasta in a colander. (Side note: if you haven’t seasoned your pasta water before, you should start now. When your noodles are seasoned in their own right, it just makes the whole dish better.)

While pasta is cooking, add your crushed tomatoes and teaspoon of sugar to the simmering tomato sauce and stir. Tomatoes are usually salty, but taste for seasoning in case any herbs or salt and pepper need to be adjusted. Let the flavors come together. While you waiting for your pasta to cook and sauce to fuse, cut the sausages on a diagonal angle. Add the sausages to the pasta sauce and gently stir. Then (timing this correctly) turn off the heat to the sauce, and lift the cooked pasta out of the boiling water and add to the skillet of sauce and sausages. Gently toss the pasta and let it start to absorb all of the sausage and garlic infused tomato flavor. Then add the grated Parmesan, stirring gently, watch it melt into being part of the sauce. Move the pasta to a large pasta bowl or platter (or right in the skillet if you prefer, I won’t judge), sprinkle with a little more grated cheese on the top and basil. Serve family style. Buon appetito!