Italians know how to cook. They really do. They know how to bring out a particular flavor and they know the right amount needed.
Over the weekend, I picked up a cookbook by Julia della Croce – Italian Home Cooking. In the book, she introduces her favorites of traditional Italian recipes. The first recipe I wanted to recreate was her Sauteed Sweet Pork Sausages with Roasted Black Grapes. Although she suggested the dish to be served with polenta, I decided to balance the richness of the sausages with a spring salad and some brown rice instead.
Sweet Pork Sausages and Roasted Grapes Salad
Adapted from Italian Home Cooking by Julia della Croce
- 5 Italian sweet sausages
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 lb of red grapes, stripped from stems (choose small ones that are firm and ripe)
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice
- Spring greens (for salad) 4oz
- Balsamic dressing (1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of chopped garlic, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper)
- Use a sharp knife to poke a few holes in the sausages before cooking them. Put sausages and water in a dutch oven over medium heat. When water has evaporated and sausages begin to color (about 12 minutes), reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 20 minutes until browned and cooked through. Prick them once or twice (not too much) to release excess fat.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Wash grapes and dry them well. Coat grapes with some cooking spray and roast in oven in a single layer for 15 minutes.
- Make salad dressing and toss with spring greens.
- Place some salad on a plate and add a few small scoops of brown rice. Add sausage (or sausages) and grapes to plate. Serve hot.