Sausage Lasagna

Sausage Lasagna

The magic of sausage! It can take an ordinary lasagna and turn it into something special. Yet, even before the sausage, this is no ordinary lasagna. Fresh homemade pasta for the noodles, the Ricotta-Béchamel sauce from Chef Silvia’s Hand Rolled Lasagna and fresh mozzarrella already take this to another level. Add the sausage and it’s breathing down the neck of the venerable Lasagna Verde Bolognese in the race for the title of my favorite lasagna. Sausage Lasagna Recipe Prep time: 45 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour and 45 min 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped fine 1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat (stuffing from 4 links) 1 35oz can of imported Italian tomatoes salt & pepper to taste 3 fresh basil leaves 1 recipe Ricotta-Béchamel (see below) 1 pound of fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese 1 recipe of homemade fresh pasta rolled out and cut into 13 inch long pieces Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautè, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage meat, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned approximately 10 minutes. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands then add them with their juices to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and let simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. At the very end of cooking, tear the basil leaves into...
Penne with Sausage and Cream

Penne with Sausage and Cream

Pasta with Sausage and Cream is a hearty, substantial dish that is quick and easy enough to make on weekday night. If I had to pick a region that this sauce is typical of I would say Emilia-Romagna, specifically Bologna. I don’t know if they would serve it on penne there, but I think it works quite well. Penne with Sausage and Cream Recipe Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 25 min Serves 4 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin 1 pound crumbled sweet Italian sausage meat (stuffing from 4 links) 1 cup heavy cream salt & pepper to taste 1 pound penne pasta freshly grated Parmagianno-Reggiano cheese Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautè, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage meat and cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned approximately 10 minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper, and cook until the sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the penne. Cook uncovered over high heat until al dente and drain. Place the pan with the sauce back over medium heat, add the pasta to the pan and toss until well coated. Serve with grated Parmagianno-Reggiano cheese on the...
Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

I wanted to make a pasta dish Sunday for dinner and since I had just recently made and frozen a large batch of Italian sausage, Sandy suggested I defrost a few and make pasta with sausage. Great idea! I used sweet sausage for this but if you want to go spicier you can use hot sausage or increase the amount of red pepper flakes. Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes Recipe Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour and 5 min Serves 4-6 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium sweet onion, diced 1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat (stuffing from 4 links) 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes salt to taste 1 35oz can imported Italian tomatoes 6 fresh basil leaves 1 pound mezzi rigatoni Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautè, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage meat, red pepper and salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned approximately 10 minutes. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands then add them with their juices to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and let simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. At the very end of cooking, tear 2 of the basil leaves into pieces with your hands and stir into the sauce. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the mezzi rigatoni. Cook uncovered over high heat until al dente. Drain the...

Fresh Italian Sausage

I have been making my own sausage for a few years now, ever since I picked up the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Revised and Updated) by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.  Charcuterie is probably my favorite cookbook, even though the only recipes from the book I have actually made are several of the fresh sausages (the Spicy Roasted Poblano Sausage is awesome) and smoked bacon.  Those few recipes, however, have given me immense satisfaction, and I am always picking it up, flipping through it and planning on eventually branching out to more advanced projects like dry cured sausages, pancetta and bresaola. My Fresh Italian Sausage recipe is actually a hybrid of the Sweet Italian Sausage recipe in Charcuterie and the Fresh Italian Sausage recipe from another book in my library, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Revised and Updated) by Paul Bertolli.  I like the combination of herbs and spices in Bertolli’s recipe but use the ratio of meat to fat and the measurements of the ingredients the two have in common from Charcuterie.  Even though cayenne pepper is an ingredient in this recipe, I still consider it to be a “sweet” sausage, because the cayenne is not enough to make it hot, it just adds a tiny bit of spice.  There several keys to making a good sausage that both books share.  The first key is keeping your meat and fat cold.  If it gets too warm during the process, the fat will separate from the meat and you will end up with a crumbly sausage.  Tips that I picked up from both...