Showing posts with label Italian sausage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian sausage. Show all posts

Monday, November 12, 2018

Baked Cheese and Sausage Ziti #BakingBloggers

The perfect weeknight family meal or Sunday supper, this baked cheese and sausage ziti is quick to put together but full of flavor. Comfort food at its best.

Food Lust People Love: The perfect weeknight family meal or Sunday supper, this baked cheese and sausage ziti is quick to put together but full of flavor. Comfort food at its best.

For many years, nay, for my whole life, my mom has been singing the praises of cooking in cast iron. She has an enviable collection of cast iron pots of every size and shape, an amazing array.

When I was younger, she’d offer me a pot or two, but I couldn’t be bothered with what I thought were the difficulties of keeping cast iron clean. Plus, before I lived in Dubai, I simply didn’t have enough luggage allowance for all of my shopping, never mind bringing back a very heavy iron pot from Houston.

Finally, just a few years ago, Mom kindly offered again and I accepted the 13 1/4 inch (34cm) beauty you see in these photos. Let me tell you, friends, I use it All The Time. And I regret the years before when I didn’t say yes to the cast iron. It’s actually quite easy to keep clean and is more nonstick than my actual “nonstick” skillets. So just for the record, I want to say, my mother was right and I was wrong.

Baked Cheese and Sausage Ziti

And while I am admitting my errors, let me also say that this pasta is probably actually penne, not ziti. A little research after the fact revealed that while ziti can have ridges, most don’t. But who has ever heard of baked penne? So baked ziti it is. Either way, your family will be fighting over the crispy bits.

3 medium cloves garlic
1 medium onion, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs or 680g fresh hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 (14.5 oz or 411g) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb or 450g  uncooked penne or ziti
3/4 cup or 75g grated Parmesan cheese

For baking:
1/4 cup or 25g grated Parmesan
1 cup or 110g grated mozzarella

For garnish – finely chopped parsley (optional)

Adjust oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, until just al dente. Scoop out a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot you used for boiling it.

Mince the garlic and onions.

In a large iron skillet, add the olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook over a medium heat until the onion softens, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Add the sausage meat and cook until it is browned, breaking the sausage into small pieces as you stir.

Add in the two cans of the seasoned diced tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the stove and tip in the cooked pasta stirring well.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the cup of reserved pasta water. Taste the mixture and add salt if needed and a few generous grinds of black pepper from a pepper mill.

Sprinkle the mozzarella and additional Parmesan over the top and put the skillet in your preheated oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, covering the skillet with foil, if it begins to brown too quickly.

To serve, sprinkle with a little finely chopped parsley, if desired.


Food Lust People Love: The perfect weeknight family meal or Sunday supper, this baked cheese and sausage ziti is quick to put together but full of flavor. Comfort food at its best.

This month my Baking Bloggers group is sharing cast iron pot recipes, both savory and sweet. Many thanks to our organizers, Sue of Palatable Pastime and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm.

Baking Bloggers is a friendly group of food bloggers who vote on a shared theme and then post recipes to fit that theme one the second Monday of each month. If you are a food blogger interesting in joining in, inquire at our Baking Bloggers Facebook group. We'd be honored if you would join us in our baking adventures.

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Food Lust People Love: The perfect weeknight family meal or Sunday supper, this baked cheese and sausage ziti is quick to put together but full of flavor. Comfort food at its best.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Grilled Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza Wraps

If you love fresh, hot homemade pizza, full of melty cheese and tasty toppings, but time is short, make these grilled pepperoni and sausage pizza wraps instead!

Seriously, these have all the flavor of pepperoni and sausage pizza in a fraction of the time real pizza takes to make. They are ideal for a weeknight supper or game night and would be great for a party as well. Let each person fill her own wrap, choosing from a selection of fillings. The ones below just happen to be my favorites but you do you.

Two important things to remember when filling 1. Do not overfill and 2. Start and end with cheese – this helps seal the wrap when grilling.

Ingredients to feed one
1 large wrap
1/2 cup or 55g grated mozzarella
Jalapeño slices
Onion slices
1/4 cup or 60ml pizza sauce
7-8 small cooked Italian sausage meatballs
6-7 pepperoni slices
3-4 fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle half the cheese in the middle of the wrap. Top with a few slices of jalapeño and onion.

Add the sausage and spoon on half of the sauce.

Next comes the pepperoni, basil leaves and the rest of the sauce.

Finally, sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella.

Fold in the top and bottom of the wrap.

Then fold in one long side and roll to close the wrap.

Grill the wrap, over a medium low heat, overlapping side down for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Place something heavy on top. I use my kettle filled with a cup or two of water.

Turn the wrap over and grill the other side for another 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, weight still in place.


Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? Yeah, I missed that memo too. But it really is and has been since 1984 when late entrepreneur Gerry Durnell launched the first trade publication about pizza called Pizza Today. His first issue came out that October, so he designated it National Pizza Month as well.

Sunday Supper cannot resist the opportunity to celebrate such a great occasion so we've got close 60 pizza or pizza-inspired recipes to share today. Many thanks to Coleen of The Redhead Baker who is hosting the event and our event manager Cricket of Cricket's Confections for all of their hard work.






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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stuffed Red Kuri Squash

Beautiful Kuri squash are perfect for stuffing and roasting. If you can’t find them though, a butternut or tender pumpkin would also work for this Stuffed Red Kuri Squash recipe made with spicy Italian sausage.

Food Lust People Love: Beautiful Kuri squash are perfect for stuffing and roasting. If you can’t find them though, a butternut or tender pumpkin would also work for this Stuffed Red Kuri Squash recipe made with spicy Italian sausage.

Last year I heard the news that a great new farmers’ market was set to open in Safa Park, a lovely green space not far from the coast here in Dubai. But weekend after weekend other plans got made (and brilliantly executed) and we never did seem to get to the park, until finally, in late May, it happened.

To the Market, finally!
Now the farmers’ market had gotten good press regularly since opening so I knew it had fabulous food trucks and loads of fresh vegetables. The gourmet butcher would be there along with folks with games for the children and shopping opportunities from select purveyors of sauces, baked goods, jams, all natural ice cream and many handmade crafts. So, as you can imagine, I was rubbing my hands together with glee as we made our way there. 

Due to a big construction project along one side of the park, the normal entrance had been changed so we circled the containing wall, looking for the right gate. Whew! Found it. And snagged the last parking place in the parking lot just outside! By this point, I was clutching my shopping bags and practically skipping through the gate, only to be brought up short by the sight of one lone booth with fresh vegetables. And that’s it. 

Turns out that the farmers’ market had closed for the summer the weekend before but the vegetable vendor, who is also the organizer, thought it would be a good idea to show up one last time, in case not everyone had gotten the word. Crestfallen does not even start to describe me. 

Fortunately, the vendor did have a decent selection of produce, including a few weird little round squashes with crook necks that I had never seen before. He didn’t know what they were called, beyond squash, but said that they were grown locally and were great when roasted. Sold!

My guy! Ooh, ooh, talking 'bout my guy! 

Do you have a farmers’ market near you? 
This year, when the sweltering heat has abated somewhat and sitting outdoors is no longer a health hazard, the farmers’ market will resume operations on 10 October at a different location in Zabeel Park and this time I’m going to try to get there long before next May. I know I have readers from around the world. I’m curious. When do your farmers’ markets open and close, if they aren’t year round?

4 links fresh Italian sausage (My four weighed about 7 3/4 oz or 275g)
1 red Kuri squash (My guy weighed about 440g or almost 1 lb)
2 slices stale bread (about 1 3/4 - 2 oz or 50-55g)
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
Handful flatleaf or Italian parsley
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (depending on your tolerance/love of spiciness)
Olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and use a little olive oil to grease a small pan that will just fit the two halves of your squash side by side.

Make crumbs out of your stale bread in the food processor and divide them into two bowls, the smaller one with just a few heaping tablespoons full for topping, the balance in the larger bowl. Pour the milk over the crumbs in the larger bowl and leave to soak.

Mince your garlic and parsley and remove the sausage meat from the casing.

Meanwhile, cut your squash in half and remove the fibers and seeds. Slice just a tiny bit off of the bottom so the squash halves sit flat and place them in the oiled pan.

Drain your breadcrumbs in a small sieve and press down lightly with your hands or the back of a spoon to get most of the milk out.

In a large mixing bowl, put the sausage meat, drained bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and crushed red pepper in with the egg and mix well.

My locally made Italian sausage is plenty salty so I don’t add more salt to this mixture. If yours is not, or if you are not sure, I encourage you to cook just a teaspoon of the mixture in a small frying pan to check. Add a little salt to the mixture, if necessary.

Stuff your mixture loosely in the squash halves.

Top with the reserved breadcrumbs and drizzle liberally with some olive oil.

Roast in your preheated oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the squash and it is cooked through. If it’s getting too brown, you can cover it with foil and continue roasting until done. And, in case you are wondering, the peel is completely edible. In fact, it's my favorite part!

Food Lust People Love: Beautiful Kuri squash are perfect for stuffing and roasting. If you can’t find them though, a butternut or tender pumpkin would also work for this Stuffed Red Kuri Squash recipe made with spicy Italian sausage.


Are you a fan of squash dishes? We've got everything you need for a festival of squash today!

Starters – Appetizers & Cocktails:
Pickles & Relish:
Soups & Salads:
Main Dishes
Side Dishes:
Sweets to Start or End the Day:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spicy Sausage Pasta

One of the worst aspects of moving is the cost.  I am not talking about the actual packing up and sea freight, because, while that is indeed very expensive, we are fortunate that the company takes care of those charges.  What with wanting us move and all, they ought to.  No, I am talking about the freezer full of food items I have stockpiled, the opened bottles of sauces and vinegars and condiments and spices that cannot make the traveling team but will have to be replaced on the other end.  Ditto cleaning materials.  And don’t even mention the bottles in the liquor cabinet, so hard come by here in Cairo or I might just cry.  Since I have a month plus a week or two to whittle down what cannot come with us, you may see some unusual combinations in my dishes.  And I may well have a few more drunken typing errors than usual. :)  

The other night, I browsed through the freezer and came out with some lovely cured spicy Italian sausage that we had brought back from our trip to Italy.  It looked like Spanish chorizo with its distinctive red coloring and I just knew it would go nicely with pasta and a spicy olive pesto that we had also bought in Italy.  I am into one-pot dishes when possible, so I decided to add in cauliflower florets and some pasta.  Okay, okay.  I had to boil the pasta in another pot, but that was easily washed!  Topped with some freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, this dish was perfectly delicious.  And quick to boot.

150g spicy sausage
5 tablespoons or 80g spicy olive paste (called battuto di olive piccante in Italian)
1 small cauliflower (about 1 1/3 lbs or 600g)
3 cloves garlic
9 oz or 250g pasta of your choice
Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (optional for serving)

Remove the skin from the sausage, if it has one.  Chop the sausage in small pieces and put them in a large non-stick pan.

Mince the garlic and then add it to the sausage.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and turn the heat on medium low.   Cook the sausage and garlic until the oil renders out of the sausage.

Put your water on to boil for the pasta and cook it according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, cut the core out of your cauliflower and then separate it into florets.

Add them into the pan and stir well.   Cook until the cauliflower is done to your liking, adding a little water if necessary.

Add the spicy olive paste to the pot and tip in the cooked, drained hot pasta.

Toss well.

Serve topped with freshly grated cheese, if desired.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

As a child, I remember eating turkey tetrazzini after Thanksgiving or Christmas, the most common times we had leftover turkey.  I figured, at the time, that it was an American concoction (Who else eats turkey?!) based on an Italian pasta dish, so imagine my surprise when Spaghetti Tetrazzini showed up in Jamie’s Italy!  His story goes that he was outside his parents’ pub and an elderly couple happened by. When they heard he was going to Italy, they told him to make sure he cooked turkey tetrazzini.  He had never heard of it.  Didn’t I feel smug, having enjoyed it on several occasions?  Eventually he found a recipe for chicken tetrazzini in an Italian cookbook.

After a little research, and by this I mean a Google search culminating at Wikipedia, it turns out that the original dish is indeed TURKEY Tetrazzini and it is named after an Italian opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini, who immigrated to the United States, making her US debut in San Francisco in 1905.  The recipe is most often credited to Chef Ernest Arbogast of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where Ms. Tetrazzini was a long-term guest.

Wikipedia says that Ms. Tetrazzini got quite stout as she aged but she could still “act effectively, especially in lively or comic roles.”  My favorite quote: “I am old and I am fat, but I am still Tetrazzini!”  When you see how much Parmesan and cream goes into this, you will know exactly how it happened. 

6 chicken breasts (about 1200g or 2 1/2 lbs)
500g or 1lb of ground (minced) chicken or pork
1/3 oz or 8.5g hot Italian sausage seasonings
1 egg
Olive oil
250g or 9 oz baby portabella mushrooms or other mixed mushrooms, cleaned
Sea salt
Black pepper
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups dry white wine
2 lbs or 1kg dried linguine
14 oz or 400g Parmesan
4 1/4 cups or 1 liter heavy whipping cream
2 sprigs of fresh basil, leaves picked

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 190°C.

Slice up the chicken breasts in thin pieces.  Salt and pepper them and add a good couple of glugs of olive oil.  Set them aside or in the refrigerator. 

Put your ground chicken or pork into a large mixing bowl. Add the sausage seasonings and one egg.  (Let me say at this point that I believe the sausage meatballs are tastier made with pork, if your religious sensibilities allow.) 

Drizzle some olive oil onto a baking tray. Mix your meat, egg and seasonings up thoroughly and, using a spoon or small scoop, divide the mixture into small pieces. 

This was a gift from my dear friend, Jacky. I think of her every time I use it!

Roll the pieces between your two palms until they are round.  Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring them around once, halfway through.

Meanwhile, in a pan big enough for all of your ingredients, add a little olive oil and brown the chicken.

As it browns, slice your garlic very finely and break up the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.   

When the chicken is browned, add in the garlic and mushrooms.  Give the pot a good stir.

Add in the wine.  Turn down to a simmer and put the lid on. 

By this time, your meatballs should be ready.   Add them into the simmering chicken and put a little of the juice from the pot into the baking tray so you can scrape the browned goodness off and into the chicken pot. 

Simmer until the chicken is tender and the wine is slightly reduced.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain well.  

Add the cream to the pan of chicken and meatballs.  Bring to the boil then turn the heat off.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


That's boiling, folks!
Add the drained pasta to the creamy mixture and toss well to coat. 

I found it easiest to use two wooden spatulas. That much pasta and sauce is heavy.
Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil and stir again.

Pour into an oven-proof dish and sprinkle with half of the remaining Parmesan.  

Bake until golden and bubbling and crispy on top.   Serve with the extra Parmesan on the side so everyone can help herself.  (I say herself, because, you might have guessed, Chicken Tetrazzini is what my Pokeno ladies ate tonight.)

We had crab cakes and corn cakes and a lovely dip for appetizers, green beans, two salads and two desserts: pumpkin and lemon meringue pies!  We eat good on Pokeno Night!