Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Garlic & Olive Sausage with Penne

Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay. – Robert Browning 

Garlicky sausage in a delicate cream tomato sauce.

I just realized I’ve published two garlic-inspired recipes in a row. It’s not that I’m medicating myself with garlic. It just worked out that way. The buffalo wings posted last time were actually barbecued a month ago.

That was during summer. It most definitely isn’t summer today. It’s 14°C outside, in late afternoon. I know it’s nothing to complain about, but when compared to the high 20s of the last several days it’s quite a difference.

You can feel fall in the air, and see it beside the roads as the maple leaves change from green to reds, oranges and yellows. It’s definitely coming. I guess my entreaties didn’t work in the least.

So what can you do? Well, in short, nothing – at least about the weather. But your food certainly can change, and should.

Fall opens up a whole host of bone- and soul-warming recipes for the kitchen. They’re the kind that were just too darned hot to make during the full heat of summer. Delicious, deep braises, or heady rich sauces, all screaming to be accompanied by starch-heavy sides like pasta, crusty bread and potatoes.

This one’s no exception. I was going to cheat today and only give you the sausage recipe. It’s the star of today's post. But that wouldn’t be very nice of me would it. So it follows.

When I say star, I actually mean despot, in a good way. There’s enough garlic in here to knock a vampire from the sky. I know I have used more in other recipes but that can be a really good thing. 

Perhaps because the substantial amount of garlic is finely minced as opposed to chopped. Less air pockets, more garlic.

This sausage recipe will perk up any dish you add it to. I didn’t even bother to stuff casings with this one. I opted to use it loose. Oft times you purchase sausages and then remove the casings, so I just skipped an unnecessary step.

If you purchase ground pork this recipe is a real breeze. At the most you will have to “grind” the fat. Use a food processor. It is fast and efficient.

“Serve with friends.” That way no one notices the garlic breath.

Garlic & Olive Sausage
Prep: 10 min  |  Yield: 1 kg sausage
2 lbs pork, ground or cubed meat
200g salted pork fat back, ground
1/4 cup black olive slices, finely chopped or ground
1 tbsp + 2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp oregano, dried
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt

If not purchased ground, grind the pork and pork fat. You can use a food processor to pulse both to a ground texture. It’s faster and easier than getting out the grinder attachment.

Mix all together and knead with your hands until everything is very well incorporated. Chill for at least 1 hour before use. 

The mixture can be stuffed into casings, flattened into patties or used loose. Can also be frozen.

Tomato Cream Sauce
Time: about 15 minutes  |  Serves 4
4 cups cooked penne
1 lb sausage meat, in chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
5 plum tomatoes, sliced into rings
3/4 cup 32% whipping cream
3 cups chopped Swiss chard
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
parmesan for at the table

Cook the pasta while you make the sauce.

Sauté the onion and tomatoes in the oil until the tomatoes break down. Then add the sausage and cook until no longer pink. (It won’t brown with the tomato already in the pot.)

Add the cream, chopped chard, oregano, pepper and salt. Cover, reduce heat and cook until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chard is wilted. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust.

Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve. Grate fresh parmesan on top at the table.


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