I truly love discovering quality foods to cook with…recently I came across Applegate Farms Breakfast Sausage at my local Whole Foods Market. The sausages are really, really, really good. Really. So, I thought, why limit myself to just breakfast? Inspired by my dad’s recipe for a 1960s favorite—Egg Noodles and Sausage Toss—I devised this recipe. It’s a hit, except with my son who dislikes green things in his food. Oh well, like so many good-for-you foods, in Sam’s case, the spinach is optional.
Savory Cavatappi with Pork Sausage & Veggies
- 1 package (16 ounces) Cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta (or try bowties, penne, etc., any shape will do!)
- 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil, divided
- 1 package (8 ounces) Applegate Farms Classic Pork Breakfast Sausage
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes (any colors and varieties), halved
- about 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- small basil leaves, optional
Cook the Cavatappi according to package directions. Before draining it, reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Drizzle it with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the reserved cooking liquid, and toss. Cover the pasta to keep it warm.
While the pasta is cooking, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet, and saute the sausage over medium low heat. Remove the sausage to a cutting board. Slice the sausage diagonally into 1 inch pieces.
Keeping the heat on medium low, add the onions and garlic to the pan, and saute them for a few minutes until they soften. Add the tomatoes and cook them for 2 minutes, then add the sliced sausages. Next, add the spinach and cook it until it just begins to wilt. Be careful not to overcook it, since it will become mushy and lose its brilliant green color.
Pour the sausage mixture over the pasta, and gently toss it. Sprinkle it with the Parmesan cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste, and toss it again.
If you like, add some small basil leaves and a sprinkling of extra Parmesan cheese to each serving.
This recipe lends itself to all kinds of good veggie variations, so have fun experimenting!
Why didn’t anyone serve vegetables like this when I was a kid?? They not only look beautiful with their glossy jewel tones and crispy caramelized edges, but they have amazing flavor. Mmmm…crunchy, slightly salty, accented with the sweetness of fresh thyme. Best of all, the roasting process could not be easier! Try these as a side dish to a holiday ham or turkey, or just them shine alone as a vegetarian course. Make sure you save the leftovers—just warm them up and arrange them atop fresh greens for a healthy and delicious salad.
Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables
Makes about 8 servings
6 cups assorted fresh vegetables (such as brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and onion)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
• Preheat oven to 450°F.
• Rinse and lightly scrub vegetables. Dry thoroughly. Pare vegetables if necessary. Cut all vegetables into uniform pieces, about 1 inch each.
• In large bowl, toss vegetables with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper.
• Grease the bottom of a shallow roasting pan (not glass) or jelly-roll pan. Spread the vegetables in the pan in a single layer. Do not crowd the vegetables.
• Roast vegetables, stirring every ten minutes, about 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
“It’s like Trick or Treat!” exclaimed Karen as she placed a sample of artisanal chocolate into her bulging shopping bag. Karen is our graduate intern/social media consultant and she accompanied us to the Fancy Food Show last week. It was really fun to see the show through her very enthusiastic eyes, and we especially enjoyed watching her alarmed expression as she tasted a very strong espresso at the Italian Pavilion!
I agree with Karen’s Halloween analogy. I always feel like a kid when I attend the show. Row after row of exhibitors showcasing the finest gourmet food products is a dream come true to a foodie. Olive oils, spices, salts, chocolates, coffees, teas, vinegars, chutneys, cheeses, wines, candies, the list goes on and on. As an attendee, the best strategy is to grab a shopping bag for samples and pace yourself. There is only so much tasting you can do in a day!
I cannot tell you how much fun it is to take in the sights and sounds of this show each year. The show, sponsored by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, is open to the trade only. It features more than 180,000 foods and beverages, has more than 2400 exhibitors from 77 countries, and about 24,000 attendees.
As you might imagine, it’s a bit overwhelming, but we do our best to cover as much ground as possible. We like to check out the new products and trends, and of course we pay close attention to the food photography. This year we noticed lots of flavored grilling sauces and spice blends, gluten-free foods, whole-grain crackers, and tea, tea, tea! Watch for upcoming posts on some of the more intriguing new products and recipes we discovered. We can’t wait to share them with you!
Here is a photo by our team alacartepartners that shows a sampling of what we found at the food show.