Tag Archives: sausage

Mediterranean Smoked Sausage, Tomato and Chickpeas

TasteFood-Title-Mediterranean

~
Who knew when I packed my bags to move to Paris to study French cooking I would become a sausage fanatic? Considering that at the time I ate little meat, the thought of embracing all manners of sausages and charcuterie was an unlikely possibility. Yet, following my cooking program and culinary immersion in French cuisine (charcuterie is a French word, after all), a subsequent move to Switzerland (where sausage vies for popularity with chocolate) and meeting my Danish husband (who comes from a land where sausage carts are more prolific than Starbucks) my view of sausages understandably – and happily – shifted.

Now, years later, sausage has worked its way into my cooking repertoire. It’s a staple ingredient in my kitchen and a hands down family favorite. Packed with protein and spice, sausages are a handy and flavorful addition to pastas, soups, stews and casseroles – when we are not gobbling them up straight off the grill. And to think that all it took was a trip to France.

Smoked Sausage, Tomato and Chickpeas

This recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. The seasoned sausage infuses the dish with smoky spiced flavor, requiring little additional seasoning, and since the sausage is pre-cooked, the entire dish may be prepared in 15 minutes. The ragout is delicious as is or spooned over couscous for a Mediterranean inspired meal.

Start to Finish: 15 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14-ounce) package Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage, sliced on the diagonal, ½-inch thick
1 pound grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups cooked couscous

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and brown on both sides, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer with tongs or a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to collapse, 5 more minutes. Return the sausages to the skillet and add the cilantro. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over couscous.

Cooks Tip:
For extra heat, add ½ teaspoon cayenne when adding the chickpeas.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Hillshire Farm sponsored it and compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, the opinions and thoughts are my own.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Grape Tomato Ragout

sausage ragout pates
I  know it’s summer, but sometimes a nice meaty pasta dish just hits the spot. I’ve lightened up this ragout by adding fresh grape tomatoes to the sauce. As the sauce simmers, the tomatoes will begin to break down adding garden-fresh brightness to this satisfying dinner.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Tomato Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup medium-bodied red wine
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add tomatoes,  red pepper, garlic, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add the wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the plum tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
Shrimp Puttanesca
Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Breadcrumb Gremolata

Skillet Dinners: Spicy Sausage, Mustard Greens and Cauliflower

sausage greens tastefood

~ a farmers’ market bounty in a skillet ~

Last week I came home from the farmers’ market with an armful of mustard. I shop with my eyes and couldn’t resist the bunches of mizuna mustard leaves – frizzy purple, spiky red, scalloped green – not to mention their sunny flowers strung together in tidy bouquets. Since then, they’ve made themselves at home in my fridge, while I’ve reached for pinches and handfuls at each meal, tossing in salads, sprinkling as garnish. Yesterday was our last hurrah. I up-ended the remaining mustard into this quick one-dish skillet dinner, along with my other market acquisitions: spicy Italian sausages, violet-tinged baby cauliflower, orange cherry tomatoes and a few handfuls of curly kale for good measure.

Spicy Sausage, Mustard Greens and Cauliflower in a Skillet
Serves 4

Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces Italian sausages, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 cups cauliflower florets, any color works
Salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 generous bunches mustard greens and/or kale, tough stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage in one layer and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. With a slotted spoon transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. If the skillet is dry, add 1 more tablespoon oil. Add the cauliflower and a sprinkle of salt; sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the greens, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper. Saute until the greens are tender and bright in color, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sausage. Cover partially, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm with couscous or farro.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes with fresh mustard:
Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Pickled Mustard Greens from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook
Mustard Greens, Tofu and Chicken Soup from Viet World Kitchen
Grilled Shrimp and Mustard Green Salad from White on Rice Couple

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Pasta

Sausage Kale Pasta TasteFood~ Sauasage, Cannellini, Kale, Tomato, Parmigiano, Gemelli Pasta ~

It’s always a shock to our family food supply when school is out and the kids are suddenly home for 3 meals a day. Add to that one freshly minted 18 year-old performing landscape construction as a summer day job who actually requires 6 meals a day.

Faced with the prospect of whipping up a satisfying and filling dinner last week when our fridge was beyond bare to begin with (all the good stuff had gone to our annual beach BBQ feast) I had to think creatively and fast.  There was one overlooked packet of sausages that had escaped the BBQ unscathed, so I decided to prepare a sturdy meaty pasta dish, embellished with  the pantry’s cannellini beans and a few lone plum tomatoes rolling around on the kitchen counter. Luckily there was a bunch of curly kale in the fridge, and while tempted to make a salad just for me, I checked myself and dumped the whole lot into the pasta bowl. If this wouldn’t fill ‘em up nothing would.

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Pasta
Serves 4

1 small bunch curly kale, tough ribs removed, torn in bite size pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt

1 pound pasta, such as gemelli, fusilli, farfalle

8 ounces Italian sausages, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped

Place the kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Toss the kale with your hands while rubbing the oil into the leaves. This will help to soften them. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown on both sides, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, and black pepper. Cook, stirring once or twice until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the pasta, kale, half of the cheese and the parsley. Toss to combine. Add more cheese to taste and serve any extra with the pasta.

If you like this, you might enjoy these easy pasta recipes from TasteFood:
Gemelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula
Spaghetti with Broccolini, Breadcrumbs and Chili Flakes
Orecchiette with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

Broccolini Sausage Pasta

broccoli sausage pasta tastefood

~ Italian Sausage, Broccolini, Plum Tomatoes, Pecorino, Basil ~

This little pot of pasta is a quick and healthy weeknight dinner you can whip up in 30 minutes. It’s a great option when you want something fresh and substantial with minimal effort that relies on the pantry and freezer for ingredients. I had fresh broccolini spears waiting for use in my fridge and dipped into my stash of sausages I keep on hand in my freezer, because, well, one should always have a stash of sausages in the freezer. A can of Italian plum tomatoes and a box of pasta later, voila, we had a meal for 4.

Spicy Sausage, Broccolini and Tomato Pasta
Serves 4

1 pound pasta, such as gemelli, fusilli, penne
Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage
3/4 pound broccolini, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed, torn in half if large
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice in 1/4-inch pieces.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the same skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add broccolini and sauté over medium heat until bright green but still crisp, about 1 minute. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Return sausages to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook until thoroughly heat through. Remove from heat and pour over the pasta. Add basil and cheese and toss to combine. Serve immediately garnished with extra cheese.

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pizza

Broccoli Rabe Pizza TasteFood

~ Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Three Cheese Pizza ~

Broccoli Rabe is like kale. If I can get my kids to eat it, then I win. I’m a huge fan of broccoli rabe, also known as rapini. While it resembles a spindly, leafy version of broccoli, rapini is actually a member of the turnip and mustard greens family, which accounts for its peppery and bitter flavor. And, like kale, rapini is a nutritional powerhouse, a rich source of vitamins A, C and K, and folate, calcium and potassium. The key is to get my family to eat it. And I think I’ve figured it out.

The first trick is to blanch broccoli rabe in salted boiling water, which will remove excess bitterness. Then briefly saute the dried stalks in olive oil with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes (everything tastes good with garlic and salt, right?) At that point the rapini is good to go as a simple side dish. But in this case I’ve taken it a step further, scattering it over pizza oozing with 3 cheeses and spiced with crumbled Italian sausage. The combination of salty, cheesy, spicy toppings perfectly balances the peppery rapini. My family gobbled it up. I like to win.

Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Three Cheese Pizza

Feel free to use your favorite store-bought pizza crust dough. Makes one large rectangular pizza, about 10 x 15-inches

1/2 pound broccoli rabe, washed, ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced, plus 1 garlic clove lightly smashed but still intact
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
Salt
3/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 pizza crust dough (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Place pizza stone on lowest rack in oven. Heat oven to 475 F (240 C). Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch just until bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately and plunge broccoli rabe into a bowl of ice water to cool; drain again. Lay stalks in one layer on a kitchen towel and blot to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2-inch pieces.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until slightly limp, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Add sausage and saute over medium heat until cooked through, breaking up large pieces with a spoon. Transfer with a slotted spoon to another plate lined with a paper towel.

On a large piece of parchment paper, roll out pizza crust to about 10 x 15-inches in size. Lightly brush crust with olive oil. Rub all over with smashed garlic clove. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Sprinkle with fontina. Scatter sausage and broccoli rape over the pizza and sprinkle with pecorino. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Slide parchment with pizza onto pizza stone in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with extra crushed chili flakes for sprinkling.

Pizza Dough Recipe

Makes enough for 2 large crusts

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4 if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Kefta Skewers

Lamb Keftas TasteFood
~ Grilled Moroccan Lamb Keftas, Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Tsatsiki ~

There is something utterly complete about this meal. Homemade ground lamb keftas, fragrant with Moroccan spices, are grilled until crisp and succulent. Served with a sweet and spicy red pepper puree and cool minty yogurt sauce, these addictive morsels hit all flavor notes. They are a great option for party food, easy to prepare in advance and economical in ingredients. Just be warned that your guests will inhale these skewers before you blink, so you might need to splurge on a double recipe.

Lamb keftas plates

Spicy Lamb Kefta Skewers

Serves 4 to 6

Keftas:
2 pounds ground lamb
1 small onion, minced, about 1 cup
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Pre-soaked bamboo skewers
Extra-virgin olive oil

Tsatstiki:
1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
1 small English cucumber, seeded, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of Tabasco

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Pita bread
Fresh mint leaves

Prepare the keftas: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to combine, without over-mixing. With a light hand, form a handful of the meat around a skewer into a sausage, about 2-inches long by 1-inch wide. Place on a tray or platter. Repeat with remaining meat. Lightly brush the keftas with olive oil. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Prepare the tsatsiki: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until use.

Grill the keftas over medium heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning once or twice. (Or broil in the oven). Serve warm with tsatsiki, red pepper sauce and pita. Garnish with mint leaves.

And a special thanks to Kim for her photo editing skills on this post! Sometimes it takes a village…

Cooking for your Health: Chicken Gumbo Light

Gumbo TasteFood~ Louisiana-style Chicken Gumbo ~

There are several reasons to make a gumbo this month. First off, gumbos are one-pot wonders, piping hot and loaded with spice to warm the belly on a cold day. They may be prepared in advance and reheated for a later meal, which is perfect fare for the ski cabin or a busy winter work week at home. Finally, gumbos originated in Louisiana, home to New Orleans and Mardi Gras, and this year Mardi Gras (or Carnival) falls in mid-February. What better way to feed a hungry crowd of revelers than with a bowl of bright and spicy Louisiana-style Gumbo?

There are many variations of gumbo, incorporating shellfish, poultry and/or sausage in a spicy soup thickened with a roux. For this month’s installment of Cooking for your Health, I’ve lightened up a  Chicken and Sausage Gumbo just in time for Carnival festivities. The result is a vibrant and deeply flavorful stew with less fat than the traditional gumbo. White chicken meat and light turkey (or chicken) sausage stand in for the protein. I’ve crumbled the sausage in order to stretch it a long way while still capturing its essence in the flavor of the soup, and I’ve kept the roux to a minimum, ensuring color and flavor while relying on the okra as an additional thickener. Don’t hold back on the spices, though, and be sure to add extra hot sauce in the end. This stew is meant to spicy – enough to get you partying in the streets on Mardi Gras.

Chicken Gumbo

If you would like to further reduce the fat, the sausage may be omitted; add 2 teaspoons smoked paprika for extra flavor.

Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound turkey or chicken sausage, crumbled
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
2 cups frozen sliced okra*
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Chopped green onions for garnish
Cooked rice (brown or white)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch-oven or pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pot in one layer without overcrowding and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to pot and brown sausage over medium heat. Transfer to another plate. Drain off fat from the pot. Add 2 tablespoons oil and flour. Cook, stirring, until roux turns light brown in color. Very carefully add the onion, celery and bell peppers (the pan will spatter). Saute for 1 minute. Add garlic, paprika, thyme, oregano and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Carefully add chicken stock, and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes, okra, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Return chicken and sausage to the pot. Cover and simmer for 30  minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add sugar if needed. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with green onions and serve with rice.

*Note: Fresh okra, when available, may be substituted for the frozen okra. Add 2 cups sliced fresh okra with the onion, celery and peppers.

Sausage, Kale and Tomato Ragout with Poached Egg and Chick Peas

Yes, I know it’s 100 degrees outside. It’s also hot in Tunisia, from where this recipe gets its inspiration. Shakshuka is a traditional Tunisian breakfast composed of simmered tomatoes, peppers, aromatics and poached eggs. It’s meant to be spicy which is a nifty DIY method for keeping cool in the Saharan heat. (The more you sweat, the more you cool off). As for me, I’ll take anything spicy for the sake of spice, regardless of temperature and geography – especially when it’s screams comfort food like this. The Tunisians call shakshuka breakfast, but I’ve added sausage, kale and chickpeas (why hold back?) and prefer to call it dinner. It’s delicious as is, served with crusty bread for mopping up the sauce and yolk. For a complete meal, spoon prepared couscous into shallow serving bowls. Make a well in the center of the couscous and ladle the ragout and and egg into the center of the couscous. All you need as an accompaniment is green salad, chilled wine – and a fan.

Sausage, Kale and Tomato Ragout with Poached Eggs and Chick Peas

Prepare this in a 10-inch deep skillet and serve family-style at the table. If you’re feeling fancy and are lucky enough to have cute individual skillets as pictured above, then prepare the ragout in one large skillet or pot. Before adding the eggs, divide the ragout between individual skillets placed on the stovetop over medium heat, and add one egg to each skillet. Serves 4 to 6.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 pound hot Italian or chorizo sausages, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
1 large garlic clove
6 ounces (small bunch) Tuscan/Lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1 32-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons harissa or hot sauce, to taste
4 to 6 large eggs
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages. Cook, turning, until brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer sausages with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard the oil from the pan – do not rinse out the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and onion to the skillet. Saute onion over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits, until onion begins to soften, 2 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add kale and cook, stirring, until leaves brighten in color and begin to wilt. Return sausages to the pan. Add tomatoes, chick peas and salt; stir to combine and taste for seasoning. If desired, add harissa or hot sauce to taste. Simmer, partially covered, over medium-low heat, to slightly thicken and allow the flavors to develop, 15 to 20 minutes. Make an indentation in the ragout with a spoon. Crack one egg in a small bowl. Gently slide egg into the indentation. Repeat with remaining eggs, taking care not to overlap the eggs. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the egg whites are set but the yolks remain runny, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon ragout with one egg into individual serving bowls. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve with crusty bread or prepared couscous.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes:
Lamb Stew with Raisins and Honey from TasteFood
Spinach Gratin with Hardboiled Eggs from Simply Recipes
Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup from TasteFood
Baby Kale, Mozzarella and Egg Bake from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Swiss Chard and Kale Frittata from TasteFood
Egg and Cheese Strata from Leite’s Culinaria

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Change is in the air. We are moving house in a week, and while it’s a local move, it still requires dismantling a life, glass by glass, book by book. Our belongings are wrapped and boxed in ambiguous cartons that creep along and up the walls, towering over the furniture with an insistency that precludes denial. In a week our life will be unpacked in a new home and environment, our belongings liberated and rapidly arranged then rearranged to produce a new vignette. For now, the dust bunnies and memories swirl about, gathering in corners and getting in our heads. And our dog is behaving strangely. I think she is hoping and fearing that she will also be packed.

Change is cathartic. It’s also unsettling. For all of the moving we’ve done in our family life, you would think this would be a piece of cake – the next step in our family adventure. Is it because I am older now? Or perhaps it’s because the children are older, fully aware and present in this move, packing their belongings and looking forward to our next step in their teenaged lives – a time which guarantees uncertainty with or without a move. I see how they watch me and listen to my words and mood, using me as a measure, while secretly I watch them back, feeling curious and just a little guilty about this event. After all, I am their mother.

So I reflect on our previous moves, from one country to another, to languages I would have yet to learn, searching for homes and a community to insert myself and my family into. This time we are simply moving zip codes, but this move has its baggage, too. So, today I will do what I do best and what has always served us well. I will cook a comforting and nourishing family meal, and we will share it for dinner as we sit together at our well traveled kitchen table.

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add garlic, red pepper, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.