Sausage and Potato Chowder

Sausage and Potato Chowder

This is perfect for one of these winter nights, you know, when the sky is grey, and the cold feels like it’s getting to your bones. When you can see your breath while you wait for the car to warm up. When all you really want to drink is hot chocolate and watch happy movies about families that have a tragedy and find some way to overcome it.

If you are adventurous enough, you could even add some pumpkin puree to this and make it an early fall treat. I prefer it exactly how it is.

What you’ll need:

1 pound Spicy Sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, if you use sausage with casings, remove the casing)

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 carrots, peeled and cubed

2 leeks, sliced thick and rinsed well

1 large onion, cubed

4 ounces of light cream

48 ounces of chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon of chives, chopped

1/4 teaspoon of sage, chopped

1 tablespoon of cornstarch and water mixed together

Misenplace:

Peel the carrots and cube them evenly, peel and cube the onion, Slice the leeks and rinse them thoroughly in a water bath (leeks can have sand in them, it’s better to take the extra step),

For the recipe:

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and leeks.

Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes)

Season the vegetables with a pinch of kosher salt and a few cranks of freshly cracked black pepper. Add the Italian sausage.

Brown the sausage completely and then drain the fat. Don’t worry about getting all of the grease out, were going to skim the top of the chowder later. Place the vegetable and meat mixture into a larger sauce/stockpan.

To the stock pan add the 2 bouillon cubes, the chicken stock and potatoes.

Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low and allow to simmer until the potatoes are that wonderful state of fork tender.

See that fat floating on the top of your hard work? Well, were going to remove it. How you ask? with a ladle, of course! just skim the edges around the pan with the edge of the ladle, if you do it correctly, you should remove a good amount of fat and very little liquid. The alternative of this would be cooling down your soup at this point, putting it in the fridge and waiting one day. The next day the fat would have solidified and you could just pull it off the top with ease. But who has that kind of time!?

When the potatoes are soft enough for your tastes (but hopefully not neglected or overcooked) add in the cream, turn the heat to low and allow the cream to warm through.

Add the cornstarch slurry, the soup will thicken up quickly, you can add more or less depending on your preference. Turn off the heat and finish the soup with the sage and the chives.

I wanted to serve this in a bread bowl, I knew that’s how I was going to present it when I was creating the recipe in my head.

I bought a loaf of peasant bread and pre-heated my oven to 400*

Cook the bread for 10 minutes, carefully remove the bread from the oven and cut the top of the bread off with a serrated knife. Carefully scoop the hot bread insides out with a spoon. Do this carefully, you don’t want to break the bread, or remove too much of it.

Ladle the soup into the bread bowl and top with some herbs and crushed red pepper.

Baked Pasta

Baked Pasta

I remember when I was younger, the only pasta I would eat would be Shells. Even though all pasta tastes the same, to the 10-year-old me, Shells tasted like gold. Although, now that I think about it, I most likely was attracted to the fact that the sauce would get stuck inside the shells, making them not as dry as usual. Or it could be the fact that i was eating shells for dinner.

What you’ll need:

1 pound Medium shell pasta, fully cooked

16 ounces of your favorite tomato sauce (Classico, please.)

1 pound of Italian sweet sausage

1 green pepper

1 onion

16 ounces Mozzarella

Misenplace!

Give the onion and green pepper a small dice.

Remove the casings from the Italian Sausage by using a serrated steak knife, and carefully cutting the sausage lengthwise. Grab an end of the sausage casing and pull it off.

Grate the mozzarella, and place in the refrigerator until needed.

For the recipe:

In a saute pan, heat olive oil until it is hot, and shimmering. Add the onions and  peppers (I also added 1 clove of garlic)

Cook until the peppers are tender, and the onions are translucent. (about 7 minutes on medium heat) Next, Add the Italian Sausage, Salt and cracked black pepper.

Brown the sausage, it should take about 10 minutes.

Add a Chiffonade of Basil and continue cooking until the basil is wilted and heated through. Now add the tomato sauce.

Cook the meat and tomato sauce until it begins to bubble. Turn down heat, and add the shells to the sauce.

Cook briefly, just until the pasta is heated through and the sauce has had a chance to mingle properly with the pasta.

Now, place half of the pasta into a 9×11 baking dish.

put half of the mozzarella on the bottom half of the pasta, place the rest of the pasta on top, and add the remaining mozzarella.

Sprinkle the top with sea salt and bake in a 400* degree oven for 45 minute or until the cheese it bubbling and begins to brown.

and

I like eating this with crusty, buttered bread.

Enjoy!

Penne alla Sausage Carbonara

Penne alla Sausage Carbonara

The history of Spaghetti alla Carbonara is well..undecided. There are several theories as to the origins of the pasta dish. Here are a few:

1.) The name supposedly comes from a dish made in the Appenine mountains of the Abruzzo. The story is that woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel would cook the dish over a hardwood charcoal fire. They preferred to use penne rather than spaghetti because it is easier to toss with the eggs and cheese.

2.) The meaning of alla carbonara is “coal worker’s style”. The recipe was eaten by coal workers. Or could also be because the abundant use of coarsely ground black pepper used in the recipe resembles coal flakes.

3.) Food shortages after the liberation of Rome in 1944 were so severe that Allied troops had to distribute military rations. The rations consisted of powdered egg and bacon. Which the Romans used with water to season the easily stored dried pasta.

I honestly like the story of number 1, however I think the most plausible answer is number 3.

Ok, enough history for today!

Misenplace time!

Today were gonna wash, and finely chop one bunch of flat leaf parsley.

Take a serrated knife and slice the sausages length-wise and remove the casings.

Also, we need to set a big pot of salted water to boil while we continue our recipe.

Saute whatever Sausage you choose for this recipe in 2 tablespoons of butter until browned. (I choose a mixture of sweet and hot Italian sausage.)

Next in a large bowl, add 1 cup of cream, 5 eggs yolks, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper, parsley and mix till combined.

Drain the pasta, making sure to reserve 1 cup of the water you cooked the pasta in. Just incase you reduce the sauce too much, you can add the water to thin it out.

Now add the cooked pasta to the browned sausage. Without wasting any time or letting the pasta cool off. Remove the pan from the burner and add the cream mixture. The residual heat should be enough to warm the sauce up. Now put the pan back on the burner.

If the sauce isn’t thick enough for you, cook for about 2-3 minutes. but be careful, the sauce thickens very quickly.

Top with more parsley, freshly cracked black pepper and serve hot.

  • All credit from this recipe goes to Homecookingrocks.com. It’s her creation.
  • I chose to use Parmesan cheese instead of block-types of cheese. It just feels like a better choice.
  • I think this would be much better using Penne (like the coal miner’s used) but I’m extremely biased towards Penne sooooo hah.
  • The sauce really does cook fast, I left the burner on, and before i noticed it, the sauce was just about gone. Good thing I had that cup of pasta water. it worked great for saving the sauce.
  • I know, you must think I’m insane for using black pepper in a cream sauce (and on the “feature picture”) but I cannot help myself. Freshly cracked black pepper makes a huge difference.
  • I used light cream, but heavy cream and half & half would work just as well.