A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rigatoni with sausage, chard, and red bell pepper sauce

   I think what makes this preparation pretty good is the red bell pepper sauce. There is no cream in it, yet it tastes rich. The sausage already contains spices, but add basil or fennel or whatever you like if you prefer. To me, it isn’t necessary, though. Don’t be tempted to use purchased roasted red bell peppers in a jar. While these are quite good for some uses, you would lose the significant additional flavor obtained in this recipe with the shallots and garlic.
Rigatoni or other tubular pasta, 1 lb
Olive oil + some on drained pasta
Italian sausage, 1 lb., either mild or spicy
Swiss chard, a bunch, leaves trimmed and chopped 
Red chile flakes (optional)
Pine nuts or almonds, 1/4 cup, toasted
For the red bell pepper sauce: 
2 red bell peppers
2-3 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 shallots
around 12 oz chicken broth
Remove the stem, seeds, and veins from the peppers and chop.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the peppers, shallots, and garlic and cook over low heat for several minutes. Now add the broth and continue simmering for another 20 minutes or so. Put the mixture into a food processor and puree. Return to the pan, add salt and pepper, and keep warm at a simmer. If it gets too thick, add some more chicken broth.
If the sausage is in casings, remove the casings.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and add the sausage, breaking up any clumps as it’s cooked. (I had to mince the cooked meat in a food processor.) When it’s sufficiently cooked, place on top the chopped chard, turn down the heat to low, and put a lid on the pan. The chard will reduce in size within a few minutes. It may be necessary to add a small amount of water or broth to prevent burning. Stir the cooked chard into the meat.
Cook and drain the pasta, return to the pot, and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Now toss the pasta with the sausage-chard mixture. 
Place the pasta on serving plates and top with the red bell pepper sauce and then a scattering of pine nuts or almonds.

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