Archive for December, 2019

Sausage, spinach, cheese, pasta — comfort food at its best! This recipe is from a magazine ad for dairy products and it’s great for supper on a cold winter night. Cook pasta shells and drain. Meanwhile, cook the onion, garlic and sausage. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Transfer the meat mixture to a bowl and add the cheeses. Spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking dish, stuff the shells, place them on top of the sauce and bake.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for sausages without additives, such as PC Free From brand. Tre Stelle ricotta is additive-free, as is genuine Parmesan cheese. I used Hunt’s tomato sauce.

Cook the onions, garlic sausage

Add the spinach

Cook until the spinach wilts

Stuff shells and place on top of tomato sauce. Top with Parmesan.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden

Sausage, spinach and ricotta cheese shells

Ingredients:

32 uncooked jumbo pasta shells

1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 Italian sausages, casings removed

6 oz (170 g) of spinach, chopped finely

14 oz (400) of ricotta cheese

¾ cup (180 ml) of grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp (2.5 ml) of sea salt

22 ounces (640 ml) of store-bought tomato sauce

Fresh Italian parsley, minced

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta shells according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the shells are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian sausages. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage meat and sauté until fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the sausage mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, ½ cup (125 ml) of the grated Parmesan cheese and the sea salt, and mix to combine.

Spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. Generously fill the cooked shells with the sausage and cheese mixture and set over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Saputo grated Parmesan cheese and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is golden. Garnish with Italian parsley and serve. Serves 8.

From Saputo Dairy Products

This recipe from the New York Times uses harissa paste, a North African paste made from roasted peppers and ingredients such as garlic, caraway, coriander and cumin. It adds wonderful flavour and colour. In this recipe, brown the chicken thighs and set aside. Then cook shallots and garlic, stir in harissa and cinnamon, return the chicken to the pan, add stock and simmer until the chicken is done. Serve with the sauce and garnish with cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used additive-free Belazu Rose Harisssa paste, which is available from Well.ca or Jacobsons Gourmet Concepts at 141 Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa. I used Imagine Organic brand chicken stock. Check the cinnamon to make sure it doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Cook the chicken and shallots in the harissa sauce

Harissa chicken thighs with shallots

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

4 to 5 small shallots, ends trimmed, quartered, root to stem, and peeled

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 tablespoons harissa paste

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 to 1 ½ cups chicken stock, plus more as needed

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Preparation:

Season chicken thighs well with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook undisturbed until nicely browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan and return to medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

Stir in harissa and cinnamon, and add back in the chicken and any residual juices. Pour in enough of the stock to come up to the chicken about halfway, and bring to a simmer. Partly cover and allow the chicken to finish cooking through, about 15 minutes more.

Toss the chicken in the sauce until it’s nicely coated. Plate and top with the cilantro and the scallions. Serve, spooning braising liquid on top and with lime wedges on the side. Finish with flaky salt, if desired. Serves 4.

From the New York Times