Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thrown Together

Over the last couple days, our area was blanketed with about a foot of snow. Yesterday, we spent most of the day inside as the white stuff continued to pile up. So, this morning, Dad and I set out to work on pushing snow. We finished pushing our driveways and the neighbors driveways around lunch time and decided it was time to get out of the house. So, Danielle and I along with my parents headed to town to run errands and pick up some groceries.

While at Sam's Club, Danielle asked me if I've tried any of their different sausage offerings. We picked up a package of their Spinach and Asiago Cheese Chicken Sausage. When we got home I pondered how to turn the sausage into dinner. I browsed the world wide web for ideas, but nothing really jumped out and said cook me. I decided to improvise. I'll apologize now for the lack of step by step pics. I didn't think about making this a blog entry until the dish turned out so well.

I started by cutting up a pound of the sausage. I got a saute pan (thanks Ginny and Joe) pretty hot and added a couple rounds of olive oil. I cooked the sausage until it was beginning to show just a little of browning. I then added maybe 4 loose cups of spinach. I didn't measure anything. I cooked that until the spinach had wilted. I transferred the sausage and spinach to a bowl and added about two tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter melted, I added three cloves of chopped garlic. I let the garlic caramelize but not too much. Never overcook garlic! Its not good. Trust me.

To the garlic, I added about a half cup of roasted red peppers, roughly chopped. I use these all the time. They really add another dimension to a dish.

While the garlic and peppers were commingling I thought I needed to add some acid to the sauce. I looked through my everyday wine selection and realized that the only white wine I had on hand was a Moscato. That would be too sweet for the sauce I was envisioning. Then I saw a bottle of Verjus from Chateau Z Vineyard. I had never had Verjus, but Cliff convinced me to buy it a few weeks back. What is Verjus you ask. It is the juice of unripened grapes. Usually verjus is pretty acidic but gentler than vinegar. Bon appetit has a more in depth definition of you're still wondering. I added a little less than 1/4 cup to the garlic, pepper, and butter concoction.

To this mix I added about a tablespoon of chopped Italian herbs. I had basil, marjoram, rosemary and thyme. Use whatever you have. After the liquid had reduced by half, I added about a cup of heavy cream and reduced some more. To the bubbling goodness, I added a 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan and a generous helping of black pepper.

I added the sausage and spinach back to the saute pan and brought the sauce together. I don't know what to call it. I served it over Tagliatelle noodles. We'll just call it good.

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