Sausage Carbonara and Amalfi Salad

September 15, 2010

I had a taste for Italian the other day and didn’t want to make the typical spaghetti w/meatballs dish accompanied by a drab boring salad. I immediately began thumbing through Jaimie’s Italy ( a unique set of authentic Italian recipes by Jaime Oliver during his travels through Italy ). I started the meal off with a savory Sausage Carbonara then finished with an Amalfi salad to clean the palate. I made a few adjustments to the recipes but the results are absolutely delicious as expected. To my amazement, my execution of these dishes received high remarks from my taste tester. “Restaurant worthy” as I recall. Enjoy!!!

Sausage Carbonara...a delicious lemon zest egg sauce, Italian sausages and pancetta complete this pasta dish

Ingredients

1 16 oz. package of Johnsonville Sweet Ground Italian Sausage
4 slices of thickly cut pancetta, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. dried linguine
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
zest of 1 lemon
a sprig of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Take the package of ground sweet sausage and roll into bite size meatballs. Heat large frying pan (preferably cast iron) and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the sausage meatballs on medium-low heat until completely golden brown, then add pancetta and continue cooking for a few more minutes until golden brown. While sausage and pancetta are frying, bring a pot of well salted water to a boil, add the linguine and cook from 7 to 10 minutes. Check pasta periodically during the tail end of the time to check it’s texture. Al dente is best.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, cream, half of the Parmesan, lemon zest and parsley and whip until all ingredients are mixed together evenly. When pasta is cooked to your liking, drain in colander and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Immediately add pasta water and pasta back to the pot and toss in egg mixture. Add the hot meatballs and pancetta and toss everything together evenly. The sauce created over the pasta should be a silky and creamy. If the pasta becomes too sticky add a bit more of the reserved pasta water to loosen. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan, season if necessary, drizzle with olive oil, add a touch of cracked pepper and serve. This is not a leftovers dish so serve and eat immediately. This dish serves four but for two, halve the recipe.

Amalfi Salad, inspired by Amalfi Coast of Italy contains fennel, red onion and oranges that result in a crisp clean salad

Ingredients

1 bulb of fennel, washed
1 red onion, peeled
1 cucumber
handful of radishes, with tops, washed
handful of ice cubes
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oranges, peeled, segmented and deseeded.

This recipe requires decent knife skills. If you are not confident with your knife handling or wish to save some time, use a Mandolin. Perfect slices are guaranteed with a Mandoline. I will include the original knife instructions described in the recipe.

Remove the herb tops of the fennel and set aside. Trim the fennel at both ends. If the outer layer is scared damaged, or dried out remove and discard. Split fennel in half and slice lengthwise as finely as possible. Put into large bowl. Remove both ends of onion, halve and slice as finely. Slice cucumbers finely. Slice ends from radishes roll it on the flat edge and also slice finely. Place all sliced vegetables in a bowl. To keep them crisp, add a handful of ice cubes and toss. Leave the ice cubes tossed within the vegetables for 4 minutes and discard.

Next, in a small bowl mix together 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar and 6 tblsp of extra virgin olive oil. Mix well, then taste. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly crusted black pepper. Dress the salad with this and add segmented oranges and any juice from the orange. Toss the salad again and serve on plates and sprinkle with fennel tops. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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