Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Italian Sausages in Garden Sauce

This is a recipe that I planned in my head today while doing other things. You see the chourico and polenta recipe of a few days ago, got me to thinking about the Italian dinner I had at Al Forno that I based it on. So sometime around 8:00 AM I decided to do something similar. I walked in the door at 6:15 PM and started preparing it.

It was done by 7:30 and I photographed it. Then I sat down to eat it. It worked out deliciously well so after dinner here I am writing it all down for the blog which I will post right now!

Oh, you'll notice I call for the "thick good" balsamic vinegar for this dish. Don't go spending $100 or more on the vintage stuff. Get a few bottles of inexpensive balsamic vinegar and boil them down until they are rich and slightly syrupy. Yeah, food snobs will scoff, but it works great in most recipes calling for the top shelf variety.

What do snobs know anyway?

Roasted Italian Sausages in Garden Sauce

6 links of Italian sausage
2 TBS olive oil
3/4 cup of celery (finely chopped)
3/4 cup of carrot (finely chopped)
1-1/2 cups of onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp fennel seeds (coarsely ground)
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (or more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary (coarsely ground)
3 cloves of garlic (sliced thin)
1 cup of dry white wine
2 large tomatoes chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS balsamic vinegar (read above)
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
3/4 cup of grape tomatoes
Pecorino-Romano cheese

Fill a pan with water and place over high heat. Pierce the Italian sausages with a fork. Place in the pan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer until cooked through. Remove from heat.

Preheat your oven to 350°F

Place a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil When the olive oil begins to shimmer, add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel, red pepper flakes and rosemary. Sauté until the the carrots and celery soften and the onions begin to brown.

Add the sliced garlic and stir in for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Allow the wine to reduce to a thick sauce.

Add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking as they reduce and give up their moisture.

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sea salt, black pepper and the balsamic vinegar. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and continue cooking. You want the sauce a little thick, not to thick, not too loose. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Get a large oven-proof casserole dish or cast iron skillet. Pour the sauce into the casserole dish or skillet and carefully place the Italian sausage in the sauce. They should not be immersed, but half exposed. Then take the grape tomatoes and distribute them around the sausages.

Place the casserole/skillet in the oven and keep and eye on it. You don't want it to thicken up to much. Cook like this in the oven until the sauce is just thick. Then transfer to the broiler to caramelize the top of the sausages, sauce and grape tomatoes. It's east to burn things in the broiler so keep a close eye on it.

When done, remove from the broiler. Shave some pecorino-romano over it and then serve with bread, over your favorite pasta or over polenta.

Recipe: Roasted Italian Sausages in Garden Sauce from Chop Onions, Boil Water by Henry Krauzyk

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