Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tastes Like Home

Sausage gets a bad rap these days. What with the high sodium and fat content, not to mention the nitrates, sausage has found its way off many of an American diet. I do try to watch what I eat, but sausage is a regular staple of our menu. Before you turn your nose up, it's not quite what you think. No Hilshire Farms here. My Dad makes his own secret recipe from scratch. I can list all the ingredients (in abbrevriated form - he would break your fingers if you knew more) - pork and spices. It has a surprisingly low amount of fat, but a lot of spice. I'm not going to say it can be classified as health food, but it is good stuff and it is one of the many tastes of home to me. I still remember when my Dad used to make his recipe in the basement of our old house; throwing scraps of pork to our cats and teaching us to put the casing on the machine to make links. So to me, this Italian sausage recipe is a true reminder of home.

Almost every Sunday, Chris and I head to my parent's house for dinner. We talk, play boccee, drink wine and eat. It's a ritual we all enjoy. This past week, Dad had made a fresh batch of sausage so he grilled up a few links. Along with home-roasted red peppers, a hard roll and shredded mozzarella, this is a meal not be missed. We, as we are almost every Sunday, were sent home with leftovers and this week were also sent home with a couple of links of fresh sausage.

Last night I used the sausage to make an outstanding dish for Chris and I - building our own memories of home. Recipe is as follows (this would have been so much better if the fennel planted in the backyard would have matured as planned!)

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Fennel and Tomatoes

Pasta for however many people you want to feed - I used about 2.5 servings of Angel Hair

3 sausage links (use fresh from a deli if you can - or if you know my Dad, his is the best)

Fennel bulb, roughly chopped

2 large garden tomatoes, peeled and seeded, roughly chopped

One garlic clove

Olive Oil


Saute sausage (taken out of the links and crumbled) until almost opaque, in a small amount of olive oil and chopped garlic. Take sausage off stove and transfer to paper towel covered plate. Add more olive oil to pan, scrape sausage bits off bottom. Add chopped fennel to pan, cook about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper (not much seasoning is needed if you have strong enough sausage). If needed for more deglazing, add a splash of whatever wine you are drinking. Add tomatoes. Stir. Let cook for 3 more minutes. Add sausage back to pan; finish cooking. Serve over pasta with bread, and a strong red wine. Enjoy the memories.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Uncle Joe's sausages are the absolute best in the world!! Every visit we ever made to your house always had to include sausages. A highlight of every trip! If I could find a way to get those sausages shipped to Denver, I'd do it in a flash :)