Go ahead, crack a joke, haha, you're hilarious.
Not THAT kind of sausage. The food kind. Specifically: roasted, with a crisp skin, and warm, fennelly insides.
And the snow we had on Saturday pushed me over the edge. I was in need of something warm and hearty. Hearty but not heavy. Roasting sausage is my absolute favorite way to prepare it. And to keep it on the lighter side, I decided I'd serve it over couscous instead of with pasta. I figured I could throw a bunch of cherry tomatoes onto the roasting pan with the sausages; I could spoon them over the couscous almost like a sauce. Oh, and obviously there would need to be cheese.
|All roasted and toasted to perfection!|
1lb Sweet (or Hot, or both) Italian Sausage
2 pints cherry tomatoes
Herb-infused Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 1/3 cups couscous (dry)
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
3 TBL water
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, cubed
1 TBL Basil Pesto (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with the herb-infused olive oil, salt and pepper. Coat evenly. Nestle the saussage in among the tomatoes. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn sausages over, and stir around the tomatoes. Place back in oven, turning heat up to 400 degrees, for another 15-30 minutes or until sausages are sufficiently brown and crisp, and tomatoes are fully cooked, and slightly brown.
|Mmmm, crispy sausages|
I could eat this right off the pan--screw the couscous!
For the couscous:
Bring chicken stock and olive oil to a boil. Turn off heat, add couscous, water, and stir. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Spoon the tomatoes over the couscous, and top with cubed mozzarella. Serve sausage on top of the couscous or to the side. Top with a dollop of pesto, if you so desire (I did!).
My secret weapon with this recipe was the herb-infused olive oil. I bought it at Boston Olive Oil during our trip last weekend, and I must say, it made this dish SO EASY and SO FLAVORFUL. I didn't have to chop a SINGLE thing for this dish, but got all the deep flavors of oregano, basil, rosemary and garlic. It was really expensive so, I plan to use it sparingly. But, this is the perfect situation to break it out. It impressed me so much, I started doing some research and am actually going to try to make my own infused olive oils at home. That way, I'll have a variety of deeply flavored oils to work with at all times. I'm sure making infused oils yourself is much cheaper than buying them from some fancy boutique, too. But, what a time saver it was, without a single bit of flavor sacrifice!
If you wanted to get a little fancy-schmancy, you could easily add some chopped fresh herbs to the couscous. I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand, so I used a spoonfull of pesto. I chose to use fresh mozzarella because I wanted a cheese that was lighter and sweeter, not too salty. However, shaved parmesan would easily work as a great substitute. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend feta--though I love a good, sharp, lemony feta. This preparation is so simple, and straightfoward, the feta would mask the delicate sweetness of the tomatoes, and the herbasciouness of the sausage.
In the end, this was just what I wanted: sweet italian sausage cooked to perfection, the couscous acting almost like a warm salad underneath. The classic flavors of hearty Italian cooking without all the guilt. It warmed up my chilly weekend, and I barely had to lift a finger! The simplicity of it all was really what made this dish beautiful, each ingredient able to stand on its own, and compliment the others perfectly.
So, now I've had my sausage fix.
No, not THAT kind of sausage. Get your head out of the gutter and into the kitchen.