tonight's dinner is thanks to a pairing suggestion by martha. but it also helps to alleviate that age old problem of "what should i do with the rest of this bunch of herbs?" wherein that beautiful bunch of whatever green herb is used for one inspired dish, with the rest only to languish away to a wimpy mess of nothing in the bottom of the crisper. this problem is easily solved in the summer, when we grow our own favorite herbs and then only cut what we need. but in the winter, when herbs are only store-bought, i feel so guilty not using all of it.
this dinner was really superb, and to me, much better than the recipe we tried on sunday night. we also took advantage of the winter season by using other citrus than just plain navels. and of course since we are not quite full-fledge carnivores, we used boca sausage instead of the real stuff. still tastes just as good, if not better! :)
fennel, orange, and parsley salad: serves 4
adapted from martha's great food fast (2007, p. 271)
1 large fennel bulb (about 1 lb)
2 navel oranges
3 mandarin oranges
2 blood oranges
2/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tb slivered pitted kalamata olives
1 tsp olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
1. trim fennel bulb. quarter, core, and thinly slice cross-wise.
2. use paring knife and remove peel and pith from oranges. separate oranges into segments and add to the bowl. squeeze peels over bowl for extra juices.
3. add fennel, parsley, olives, and olive oil. season with salt and pepper. gently toss and serve. make sure to spoon out some of the juices to each plate.
rigatoni with sausage and parsley: serves 4
adapted from martha's great food fast (2007, p. 325)
1 package boca italian sausage
2 medium red onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 lb rigatoni
2 cups fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt + pepper
1. in large skillet heat olive oil. cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, remove to plate. reduce heat to medium, add onions. cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes. slice sausage to about 1/4 inch thick and then return to pan. add broth and cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
2. meanwhile in large pot of boiling salt water, cook pasta until al dente. drain and return to pot.
3. add sausage mixture and parmesan to pasta. toss to combine. season with salt and pepper. garnish each plate with a little parsley and extra parmesan. (if you're going to have all 4 servings immediately, you can combine the parsley with all the pasta and sausage, but because we were only going to have the 2 servings, we did it individually so the herb would not get brown in the leftovers.)