Place the sausage in the freezer for 20 minutes. This makes it easier to slice and hold its shape. Brown the sausage in oil in a stock pot. Remove when done and leave the oil and fat in the pot.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the trinity and garlic. Cook on medium until the vegetables have softened.
Stir in the beans, 8 cups of water, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring it to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the beans are cooked – about 2 hours.
At this point remove about a cup of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor and return them to the pot to thicken the stew. Return the sausage to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, taste and adjust seasoning.
This recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark’s A Good Appetite in the New York Times. She suggests using any kind of sausage you like. I chose hot Italian sausage because it made a good contrast to the sweetness of the grapes.
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 tbsps. olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups of stemmed red seedless grapes
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
2 tbsps. chopped scallions or chives
2 tsps. Sherry vinegar + more to taste
Heat oven to 450o.
In an oven proof pan, toss the onions with the salt, pepper and 2 tbsps. oil. Roast for 10 minutes or so, until the onions take on some color. Remove the pan for the oven and add the grapes, cumin, and the remaining oil. Spread in an even layer and add the sausage. Roast for 25 minutes, turning sausage and tossing onions/grapes halfway through.
After 25 minutes, remove the sausage to a serving plate. Add the parsley and chives to the pan with the grapes and onions and mix. Use a slotted spoon to remove the grapes and onions to the serving plate. Add the vinegar and scrape up any brown bits. Put over the grapes and sausage and serve.
Heat the oven to 450o and roast the peeled and diced squash with oil and salt and pepper for 15 minutes.
Sauté the mushrooms and onion in oil in a pot until they’re soft. Remove from the pot. Add the sausage and break it up and cook until it’s brown. Return the mushrooms and onion to the pot, then add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook on a medium flame for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup of water, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Cook the pasta until almost done and add it to the pot and mix it with the sauce. Add some of the pasta water if it looks too dry. Now, add the roasted squash and parsley. Mix and serve. (My friend said it can be served with grated cheese but I think that would overpowers the sweetness of the squash.)
I may be a native New Yorker but I’ve always loved Southern food. I got this recipe in the New York Daily News. Even if you don’t want the sausage gravy, it’s still a great biscuit recipe.
For the Biscuits –
2 ½ cups flour
2 tbsps. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 ozs. butter
1 cup buttermilk
Pre-heat the oven to 425o.
Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Grate in the butter into the bowl and blend. Add the buttermilk and stir until it comes together like a rough dough. Sprinkle some flour on your counter and knead the dough by folding it in half a few times. No need to over do it.
Roll out the dough into a one-inch layer. Use a biscuit cutter (I use a glass) to cut 2 to 3 inch diameter biscuits. You should get about 12. Put the cut outs on a buttered baking sheet. Brush the tops of each with melted butter and bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Salt and black pepper (easy on the salt if the broth is salty)
Brown the sausage meat in the oil in a frying pan. Remove the meat leaving the oil and some brown bits. At medium heat, add the butter and when it melts and stops foaming quickly stir in the flour. Don’t let it brown. This is a light-colored gravy.
Raise the heat and whisk in the chicken broth. When it thickens and becomes smooth, return the cooked sausage meat to the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Heat the cream, add it to the pan and mix. Taste for seasoning. Serve it hot, spooned over the split biscuits.
The biscuits are pretty good with butter and preserves too.
Subs, hoagies, grinders – that’s fine but in New York, it’s a hero. Sandwiches Italian-Style doesn’t necessarily mean 8 different kinds of meat and cheese and a bunch of other things, where each flavor cancels out the next. It shouldn’t be that complicated.
For a good Italian-Style sandwich the most important thing is the bread. On the right bread, cream cheese and Welch’s grape jelly can be something special. Then comes basic but high-quality ingredients. After that, the main condiments are simply salt, pepper and maybe a few drops of olive oil. Here are a few standards.
Sausage & Peppers – Fry some bell peppers and an onion. Then fry the sausage in the same pan. Simple
Tuna with Lemon and Onion – Use imported tuna packed in olive oil, add some thinly sliced lemon (with skin) and onion. A little romaine if you like.
Ricotta on a Roll – Scrape some of the bread out of the top of the roll to make room for the ricotta so it doesn’t squeeze out.
Mootz & Tomato – Fresh cold mozzarella with sliced tomatoes and basil if you have it.
Escarole – Add just washed and still wet escarole leaves to a pan where you’ve sautéed some garlic in oil. Simmer until it wilts. It’s as easy as that.
Note that only one of these sandwiches contains meat, another fish and the last three are vegetarian. That says something about the Mediterranean Diet.