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Monday, January 18, 2010

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Hot Italian sausage was on sale yesterday, so I picked it up and then found a recipe which of course involved going BACK to the grocery store. One day I will get organized....just not today. I found this recipe in my notebook of random recipes I want to try out. Anytime I see a recipe in the paper or a magazine, I cut it out and tape it in my notebook. It probably gets more use than other cookbook I have because I know I want to eat EVERYTHING in it. It was really easy to make, relatively inexpensive and super yummy. I ate it with a simple mixed green salad, but it is plenty filling on its own. Obviously, this is not part of the cookbook, but since it's good, I figured I might as well share it.

Ingredients, serves 6:

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, meat crumbled
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 lb. pasta (tube-shaped) - i use penne
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. butter
2 T. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (the recipe called for flat, but they only had curly at the store- who cares?)
Freshly ground black pepper

So, first I worked on chopping the garlic and removing the casing from the sausage.

EW.......casing! Yucky!

Now, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the oil to the hot pan, then add the sausage and garlic. Break apart the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's no longer pink.

Then add the cream and simmer over low heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. When the pasta is ready, so is the sausage.

Drain the pasta well in a colander and add to the sausage in the pan. Add the Parmesan, butter, and parsley. Yes, my pan is way too small. I'm in the process of moving, and my big boy pan is all packed up.

Mix well.

To serve, sprinkle with a little more of the Parmesan cheese and season with pepper. It's got a nice kick, but don't let the spicy title steer you could always use regular Italian sausage....but the spicy kind is sooooo much better!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Braised Short Ribs

It's January, it's cold, I'm broke...basically, braising is calling my name! As you probably already know, braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down tough connective tissue and collagens in meats, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts.

One person that understands the cold in this family is Aunt Andrea Hairston, who left the flat mild Delta winters for the mountains of snowy Idaho years ago. She submitted this delicious-sounding Braised Short Ribs recipe for our cookbook. I decided to take a stab at cooking at her recipe today, but since I'm a loner, I decided to cut the recipe in half for little old me.

ingredients for original recipe, feeds 4-6:

3 lbs. beef short ribs
3/4 cup rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 t. beef flavored gravy base or 2 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup chopped celery (i loathe celery, so i left this out of mine)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 1/4 cup water
2 t. salt
1 t. Worcestershire sauce

In a heavy skillet, brown ribs with added fat. Fat? How do I get my thighs in this pan? Fine, I'll use butter.

Allow 25-30 minutes for browning. Season with a little salt.

Remove to a 3 quart casserole, cover and bake in slow oven at 325 for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in the skillet in which the meat was browned, combine rice, onions, celery and green pepper. Cook until rice is lightly browned.

After meat has baked for 1 hour, remove ribs from casserole and pour off fat. Place browned rice mixture into casserole.
Top with ribs.
Combine remaining ingredients into a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour over ribs and rice.

Cover and bake 1 hour more. Look how yummy!

And serve.... this was delicious. I served with some steamed spinach but any green veg would be great with it. Thanks, Aunt Andrea, for a fabulous recipe!