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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage

From the Vault: My parents are visiting so while I’ve been doing a lot of cooking I haven’t been taking pictures nor do I have tons of writing time. So here, enjoy this pasta dish, it’s wicked good. Would be even better if you made the sauce in a big skillet and mixed the pasta in to cook a bit with it instead of ladling it over at the table. But really, both are fantastic.

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1 large red pepper, roasted
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 Italian sausages (1/2 lb)

Brown and crumble the sausage, remove it to a paper towel lined plate, cover it and put it in the fridge. Remove all but a tbl of the fat from the pan and brown the onions. Add the garlic and saute till aromatic, about 30-40 seconds. Add the bay leaf, basil and oregano and saute for 20 seconds or so. Add the vinegar to deglaze, then add the tomatoes. Dice the pepper and add it in as well. Let simmer for at least an hour or up to 3. If you want it chunky you can hit it with a potato masher a couple times, if you want it smooth hit it with a immersion blender. Add the sausage back in and let it simmer for another half hour or so. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve over pasta.

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Love this sauce, the roasted red peppers add a great sweetness to it and something about Italian sausage and tomato sauce is just awesome. You can use spicy or sweet sausage in this, whatever you enjoy most. I use sweet because my girlfriend doesn’t feel it for spicy and she does the grocery shopping. If you want it chunky you don’t have to hit it with the blender, we just like tomato sauce smooth. Plus if you leave it chunky you don’t have to leave the sausage out till the end, unless you don’t want pieces of sausage. Anyway, here is what I did.

First I roasted a pepper. I love roasted peppers, they are just awesome. This one was pretty big. How big? Bigger than a can of tomatoes. I like a lot of pepper flavor in the sauce. If I had only had small ones I would have used two. After roasting, I sliced off the top and bottom, took out the seeds and spread it out for slicing. Of course that’s the only thing I got a decent shot of. Then I cut it into chunks and set it aside. Next I browned up the sausage. I had taken these out of the casing to make crumbling easier. Once they were all nicely browned I pulled them out. I put them on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess fat (there was more than enough left in the pan, too much would over power the other flavors) then tossed it into the fridge since I didn’t want to let it sit out for the whole cooking time.Mmmmm, that’s one fondy pot. It’s going to make the sauce nice and rich. Browned up the onions, then the garlic. I didn’t worry about mincing the garlic too fine since I was going to blend it, but if you are leaving it chunky you might want to make the pieces smaller. Or leave them big, if you like big chunks of garlic. Once the garlic was done I added in the spices and sauteed them for a minute. This helps bring out the oils from them, which brings out the flavor. Then I deglazed with the vinegar, although I didn’t get a good picture of it. Red wine would be good too, but I didn’t have any. Once I had scraped up the fond I added in the tomatoes. Then the pepper chunks. Then I let it simmer for about an hour, making sure to stir it every once and a while so it didn’t burn. I would have done it longer, but I had to be at work in a couple hours. Don’t forget to take out the bay leaf! I didn’t want it in there when I blended it with the wand mixer. Blending it makes it nice and smooth, helps it cling to pasta. Then the sausage went back in and I let it simmer for another half hour or so to let the flavors mingle. I added a little black pepper, but it didn’t need salt since the canned tomatoes I used had plenty in them. And that’s it. Some pasta, a little cheese and a goodly amount of sauce and you have a meal.Good stuff folks. A little cream in the sauce would have been good too or some Parmesan. Add a little extra richness. Not that it really needs it. Heh.

Filed under: pasta, sausage

And Now I’m in Iowa. With Children? …Really?

This is strange to me, especially since it was so sudden, but especially because it’s Iowa. It’s not too bad though, everything is wicked cheap and hopefully there are some bored, lonely, corn-fed farm girls who would be delighted to be regaled with stories of the big city. But until I find out where they’re all hiding I guess I’ll just be cooking for me.

Oh and my sister, her husband and five kids who live around the corner. Which is the real reason I’m here. Heh. In fact, you’ve already met one of my nieces when she came to visit me a year or so ago. She’s a bit bigger and more entertaining now even if she still isn’t too sure of me.

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But this will pass, I’ve been bribing her with food. Oh right, food, that’s why you’re all here! Well, not much going on since I haven’t even gone real grocery shopping yet (something about living near my sister and her fridge full of kid friendly food I’m guessing). But here, this is the last thing I cooked in Lynn in that horrible, tiny kitchen.

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It’s braised shredded pork, naan and a red wine vinegar yogurt sauce. Good times. And my sister cooks too! here is some amazing bread that she makes, I’ll post the recipe soon.

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The first thing I cooked for them while I was saying at her house (it only took me a week to find an apartment and the contract was hand written of all the crazy things) I made chicken and pasta with a garlic white sauce and broccoli.

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They had to all be separate since some kids will eat some thing and not others, etc. It was good, but I’m not used to cooking for groups so it wasn’t as good as I wanted. And in case you were worried about the Real Bob put your fears to rest, he is fine.  In fact he loves the leather couch that came with the apartment, but then so do I. 495Which is good since at the moment it’s also my bed. Heh. I’ll do a whole post about my new kitchen later, just wanted to check in and such.

Filed under: Admin Stuff, bread, cats, chicken, children, pasta, pizza, sauce

Leftovers: Boiled Dinner Macaroni and Cheese

From the Vault: Just realized that tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day and I have nothing even vaguely Irish in the ready folder. So here is a post from the old site of something I made with leftovers from a boiled dinner. Damn, now I really want to make it again. Hmm, corned beef is bound to go on sale next week…

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1 tbl butter
1 tbl flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup Guinness
4 cups cooked macaroni
1/2 cup shredded corned beef*
1/2 cup chopped cabbage*
1 cup lightly smashed, cooked potato*
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper

*leftovers from a boiled dinner are perfect

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat a little oil in a medium sauce pan to medium-hot. Add the cabbage and corned beef, lightly brown them and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add the butter and let it melt. Once it’s melted add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, constantly stirring, don’t let it get too brown. Slowly add the warm milk, still stirring and let it come to a simmer. Add the Guinness, cheese, black pepper and cayenne. Turn off the heat and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste it and see if it needs more seasoning, add some if it does. Add the macaroni and fold until it’s well combined. Spread the mixture in an 8×8 pan. Toss the potato with a little butter, salt and pepper and sprinkle it over the top of the pasta. Put it in the oven until browned, about 20 minutes.

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First, a disclaimer: that recipe up top is approximate. I had a detailed plan, I swear, but it went out the window as soon as the stove was turned on. I was wicked tired, I couldn’t find the recipe I was using as a base, my brain kind of exploded and all that was left was the desire for macaroni and cheese with corned beef, cabbage and Guinness in it. So I just winged it.

It came out wicked good. The pieces of browned cabbage and corned beef added awesome bits of texture and bursts of flavor.

It formed a decent crust, which is important to me, and had tons of cheese.

All good things. But. Next time I will definitely make more sauce, plus I might butter the pan to make more crispy crust. I love that.

The Guinness was much more subtle than I thought it would be, it probably wouldn’t hurt to add some more of that too. But that’s really more a to taste thing. All in all this was really good and I must say I’m pleased with it.

Plus since my girlfriend doesn’t like mac and cheese when it’s homemade all the leftovers are for me! Ha!

Filed under: beef, cabbage, cheese, leftovers, pasta, potato

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Unless otherwise noted I have not been paid, given freebies or in any other way bribed by any company, website, store, individual or nonprofit organization for a review or any kind of mention. I am however open to it.

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