Posts Tagged ‘sausage’

Sausage Balls

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Nothing beautiful or fancy here, but these sausage balls are are a quick, satisfying crowd-pleasing appetizer. I made them at Thanksgiving  last year and again for Easter at my Grandma’s house, at the request of my little sister. Enjoy!


Sausage Balls
Adapted from Paula Deen and Friends

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. I like the parchment paper, because it makes clean-up extra easy.

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly. Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. To prevent sticking, move the balls with a spatula halfway through cooking.

Note: The end result is like a cheesy biscuit made of sausage. I know that doesn’t make sense, but once you’ve tasted them, I think you’ll understand.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

When I was in college, I worked as a server at The Olive Garden. One of the staples of my diet while I was there was soup (the other was breadsticks!). One of the problems with working in a restaurant like that is you learn to like all sorts of dishes, but when you visit the restaurant as a “civillian,” you have to choose just one thing.

Luckily, now that I can make Zuppa Toscana and Pasta e Fagioli at home, I can at least remove the soup or salad choice from that dilemma!


I may have stolen that picture from the Olive Garden website, but I promise–mine was just like the real thing!

Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana
Serves 4-6


  • 1 lb sweet bulk Italian sausage (or links, with the casings removed)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 4 quarts chicken stock (homemade or from a box; don’t substitute broth)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 6 c water
  • 1/4 tsp ground aniseed
  • 1 bunch kale, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 large russet potatoes, sliced
  • 1 large onion white, finely chopped


1. Bring chicken stock & water to a light boil & add potatoes.

2. In a large skillet cook bacon until somewhat done & remove from the pan. Crumble the bacon and reserve for later.

3. Sauté the onion in the bacon fat until the onions are a golden brown color. Add to boiling stock & potatoes.

4. In the same skillet add olive oil, garlic and crumbled Italian sausage. Cook over medium high heat until the sausage is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. When sausage is cooked, add the contents of the skillet to the boiling stock & potatoes.

5. Continue to cook at a light boil until the potatoes are fork tender. When they are done reduce heat and add cream, crumbled bacon, kale, salt, anise, red pepper, black pepper. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to come together. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and garlic bread.

Note: I made this as listed the first time I tried it, and it was good, but I found that we all picked around the kale, so I left that out the second time. That’s another reason to recreate restaurant favorites at home–I only have to add the parts I like!

Sun-Dried Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Here’s another of our favorite risotto recipes. This is the one David always makes when he takes over the dinner preparations. It starts as a basic risotto milanese, with arborio rice, chicken stock, garlic, white wine, and parmesan cheese. We add to this classic flavor combination with Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes, which play nicely against the creamy texture of the risotto and the tang of Parmesan cheese.


Sun-Dried Tomato and Sausage Risotto

  • 3.5 cups Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth (stock is better)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage (or about three links, casings removed)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil/from a jar, diced
  • 2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato oil, from the jar
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.
  2. Saute Italian sausage with garlic in a medium skillet, until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and put aside, reserving about a teaspoon of the  drippings in the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, add sun-dried tomato oil and arborio rice and cook over medium high heat until grains start to turn translucent and shiny at the edges. You want to make sure that all of the grains of rice get coated, so if there’s not enough fat in the pan, you can always add a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t add too much–coating the rice is good, but extra grease will make the final dish extra greasy.
  4. Begin to add chicken stock mixture, one or two ladles at a time, until the rice will no longer absorb the liquid. Stir often. When it is finished, the rice should have a creamy texture and be tender, with a little bit of bite to it (just slightly al dente).
  5. When rice is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and cooked sausage. Serve immediately.

Note: As I’ve said before, we make risotto often around here. Risotto is more about the method than anything else, and once you get that down, you can do just about anything with the flavors and ingredients. You’ve seen Mexican Risotto here, but we also do a similar dish to this one with chicken, a tomato based sausage risotto, cheddar risotto arancini, sausage arancini, etc. Like I said, once you get the method down, you’re really only limited by your imagination.