Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Night's Dinner...

These two beauties popped up in my inbox yesterday from Cusine Recipes and I just HAD to make them that night! Don't be intimidated by the length of the recipes it's just wordy...neither took many ingredients and were fairly simple to make.

Italian Sausage and Squash Soup
Makes: 8 cups
Total time: 50 minutes

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 1⁄2 cups diced onion
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 1/2 lbs.) (Look in your grocery store produce section for squash already peeled and cut into chunks - so much easier!)
1⁄4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. ground dried sage
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups packed baby spinach
3 Tbsp. brandy
Salt and black pepper to taste

Brown sausage in 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

Sweat onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add squash and pepper flakes, and saute 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and water, bring to a boil, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 10 minutes. Puree soup with a hand blender (or in batches in a standard blender), then add bell pepper, cream, sage, and sugar; simmer until bell pepper is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, brandy, and sausage, and simmer until spinach wilts and sausage is heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Soup was a little thick in the below picture because I had let it simmer too long while waiting for Hunter to come in from working on the garage. We added two more cups of water before serving and that made it soupy perfection!

Olive Bruschetta - the bruschetta was a perfect compliment to the soup!
Makes: 12
Total time: 20 minutes
1⁄2cup seeded and diced tomatoes
1⁄4cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
12 slices baguette, 1/2-inch thick
Olive oil
3⁄4 cup shredded aged provolone or fontina cheese - (I bought a wedge of fontina and grated it myself - well worth the splurge)!

Preheat broiler to high with rack 6 inches from the element.

Combine tomatoes, olives, parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and broil until toasted on 1 side, about 2 minutes. Turn over, top each round with 1 Tbsp. cheese, and broil until cheese melts and begins to brown. Top with tomato mixture before serving.

Guess what I'm having for lunch today?

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