Farro, Beans and Spicy Sausage Simmered in Red Wine

9 04 2014

This rustic dish is a twist on Panissa, a one-pot meal well known in the northwest Italian town of Vercelli, made with rice, beans, dried sausage and simmered in red wine. So deliciously savory and comforting! I went rogue on the ingredients, using farro as my grain of choice in place of rice. Because farro has a rather long cooking time, I make it over the weekend to save on cooking time during the week.

Farro, Beans and Spicy Sausage Simmered in Red Wine

Farro, Beans and Spicy Sausage Simmered in Red Wine

The following serves 3-4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with heavy inspiration from Piatto Unico):

  • 1 lb hot Italian turkey or pork sausage, casings removed (you could also use sweet or mild)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/4 cup red wine, I used Chianti (although Barbera is the wine of choice in Vercelli)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked semi-pearled farro
  • Kosher salt
  • Grated parmesan

Heat a Tbsp or so of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 8-10 minutes. You should have a good amount of brown bits on the bottom of the pan, which will help add flavor to the dish.

Next, add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, a minute or so. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.

Deglaze the pan with 3/4 cup of wine, scrapping up all those browned bits on the bottom. Cook for a minute or two, then add the chicken broth and mix well. Bring to a bubble. Add the cooked farro and beans, and reduce heat to low. Season with a little salt to taste.

Simmer for 20 minutes, adding a splash of the rest of the reserved wine every 5 minutes. Stir often. Taste, and adjust salt before serving if needed.

Divide among plates and garnish with a good amount of grated parmesan. Serve with a side salad (pictured above is baby arugula dressed with a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic powder). Serve with a glass of the wine you used to cook with. 🙂

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Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

5 02 2014

The sweetness of the sweet potato really pairs well with the spicy sausage in this tasty fall/winter soup. Kale also enhances the flavor, while bumping up its nutritional value. Try making your own sausage with ground turkey – see This Girl’s tip below for a homemade sausage seasoning.

Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

The following serves 4 (adapted from Everyday Food):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced large
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb sweet or spicy Italian turkey sausage (I made my own spicy sausage seasoning to use with ground turkey, see below for recipe. You could also buy bulk sausage.)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (a little over a pound), peeled and diced medium
  • 6 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups roughly chopped kale
  • Grated parmesan for serving

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add turkey sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, continue to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to simmer, add greens, and cook another 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve with parmesan.

This Girl’s Tip: Spicy Italian sausage seasoning (adapted from Tasty Kitchen): When my family makes our own dried sausage we usually just use a spice blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper – but because I’m not using pork, I thought I needed some additional flavor to make the turkey taste more like sausage. So I adapted a blend I found from Tasty Kitchen, along with my family’s, and it worked great. 

Make this seasoning in advance; mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. When you need sausage, mix 2-3 Tbsp of the seasoning with 1 lb ground turkey, chicken or pork. If you have time, mix the meat with the seasoning a day or two in advance and store covered in the fridge so the flavors can blend into the meat.

  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds or ground fennel
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne




Sausage and Arugula Frittata Cups

12 01 2014

I’m not looking forward to starting a new work week tomorrow, but I am excited for breakfast! 🙂 These little beauties pack a punch of flavor, and couldn’t be easier to make. Rather than making a frittata (an Italian baked omelette), I made these in a muffin tin so I could easily grab-n-go. Whip up a batch on Sunday and enjoy these for breakfast throughout the week.

Sausage and Arugula Frittata Cups

Sausage and Arugula Frittata Cups

The following makes 12 frittata cups (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 10 eggs
  • 8 oz cooked breakfast turkey sausage, finely chopped (such as a box of Bob Evan’s patties)
  • 1 cup sharp provolone cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1 cup packed arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray.

Whisk eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in sausage, cheese and arugula.

Fill the muffin tin evenly with the egg mixture, don’t worry if some of the arugula is sticking out, it will just look rustic when it’s done. Bake for 20 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from the oven and top with a little salt and pepper.

Store in a covered container in the fridge and enjoy cups for breakfast throughout the week.

To make an actual frittata (great on the weekends!), heat a little butter or oil in a large oven-proof skillet and add the egg mixture. Cook for a few minutes until the eggs begin to set on the bottom and the sides, then transfer to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until eggs are cooked through and the top begins to brown. To remove the frittata from the skillet, loosen around the sides with a spatula and flip onto a plate or cutting board. Cut into pie pieces and serve with hot sauce.