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Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Orecchiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Upon review of my recent posts, I have come to realize that I have a pasta problem. My last five posts have all been pasta recipes. Pasta is such a crowd-pleaser in our home that it’s my go-to meal for most weekdays. If both my husband and I are working, then I will whip up a pasta dish when I come home from work. If my husband is on days off and I’m working, then he’ll BBQ steaks or kebabs (is it kebabs or kabobs?) with grilled veggies and potatoes. On weekends when I’m off work I do more involved recipes, such as something Vietnamese or roast beef or roasted chicken or I experiment with new recipes for content on this blog.

Since we are eating so much pasta, I like trying different types of pasta to mix things up a bit. My favourite is the mafalda corta that I mentioned in my bolognese recipe.  Penne and bowtie are okay, but I’m not a fan of spaghetti or linguine. If a recipe calls for a longer strand type of pasta, then my absolute favourite is pappardelle. For this recipe, I decided to try orecchiette because I like the way it sounds and because I found a bag of it at Save-On Foods one day. (I’ve never seen orecchiette at Safeway).  Orechiette comes from the Italian word ‘orecchia’ meaning ‘ear’ and ‘etta’ meaning small because ,well, the pasta is shaped like small ears.

I added broccolini to this recipe because like most moms, I’m trying to get my toddler to eat more vegetables. It didn’t work, by the way. She just picked out the pasta and sausage bits and left all the broccolini on her plate. Oh well, at least I got more vegetables in my diet. Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but it has smaller florets and long thin stalks. It’s almost like a broccoli / asparagus hybrid. It has a sweeter flavour than broccoli, is super high in Vitamin C, and is so versatile in recipes. I’ve sauteed broccolini with beef or chicken in an Asian stirfry before, but this time, I decided to boil them and add them to this pasta. You can find broccolini in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and they are often packaged in a tray and wrapped in plastic, like this:

broccolini

For some added protein and flavour, I used a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t feeding your kid this, I would recommend buying the Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I think that would add more flavour to it.

And as always, remember to use real Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself!

 

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (I bought the mild flavour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 500 g bag of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 package of broccolini, trimmed and cut into small florets and 2-inch stalk pieces.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for serving

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the Italian sausages with a fork (so that they won't explode!) and place them on a foiled sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, turning once, until just cooked through. Slice them into 1/2 inch coins and set aside.

2

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven). Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccolini.

3

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

4

In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time, add the broccolini pieces in with the pasta and finish off cooking for 3 minutes.

5

Drain the pasta and broccolini and add to the tomato and sausage mixture.

6

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Beer and Wine Pairings/ Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Italian Sausage Tortellini

Italian Sausage Tortellini

My husband was the first man (first person, really) that I ever cooked for. We started dating on December 31, 2010, and it was my New Year’s resolution for 2011 to learn how to cook. Prior to 2011, I never cooked and all I had in my fridge were Diet Cokes, Grey Goose vodka and bagged salads. I still remember the first dish I made for my husband – it was a chocolate hazelnut banana french toast.

So he’s been my guinea pig from day 1, and he’s witnessed and experienced the evolution and improvement of my cooking. From that very first French toast, to date night steak dinners for two, and now to Vietnamese food and family meals.

My husband is very appreciative of my cooking skills and thanks me after every meal. I am appreciate of the fact that he will eat anything, because let me tell you, there have been times where my cooking experiments have gone awry and some of the meals are barely edible. My husband is a small town Saskatchewan boy so he’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I’ll make a fancy tagliatelle short rib bolognese and he’ll compliment it and eat it, but he’ll devour and rave over a simple steak and mashed potatoes dinner. Lately there’s been one very simple, very quick Italian sausage tortellini recipe that I make that he just loves. I made it the other day and he said “thank you for making my favourite meal”. I mean, that makes me feel great but why do I bother making fancy meals when this 20 minute meal makes him that happy?!

This pasta recipe is basically all packaged ingredients thrown together so prep time is minimal. All you need is a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage (I buy the ground version, not the actually sausage version), a package of Olivieri fresh filled pasta (I buy the one filled with Italian sausage), a jar of marinara sauce, some spinach or other type of greens, some chicken broth, an onion, a couple cloves of garlic and some olive oil. The greens are optional but I try to sneak vegetables and greens into every meal that we have and they do add a nice pop of colour to the dish.

Follow the instructions below and you have a quick and filling meal that literally takes 20 minutes to make! It’s such a simple meal that I pair it with one of our favourite wines, Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, just to elevate it a bit! Give this recipe and the wine a try and let me know what you think!

Italian Sausage Tortellini

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 package of Johnsonville mild Italian Sausage, ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce or tomato pasta sauce (any brand will do). I typically buy the Catelli brand in the 640 ml jar.
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 package Olivieri fresh filled pasta (I buy the Italian sausage filled kind)
  • two handfuls of spinach, kale, or arugula (or a mix!)

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or pan on medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes.

2

Add the package of Johnsonville ground Italian sausage and the garlic, and cook until the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.

3

Add the package of Olivieri fresh pasta, the marinara sauce, and the chicken broth and stir.

4

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

5

Uncover, and add a couple handfuls of your greens of choice and stir them in until they are wilted.

6

Dish up and serve with a nice glass of wine!