Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marinara Sauce with Sausage

I have just finished week three of Old Age, The Preview. And let me tell you, this is not what I had in mind at all. I'm still walking with a cane. Walking an entire block saps all my energy, even in the morning. On Thursday, when I had to walk from 13th Street to 14th Street at 5;30 to find a cab to get home, I was practically in tears. I was able to get to work three days last week. Was I effective, as the DC Public Schools require its teachers to be? No.
On Friday, when half the staff was out for reading training and they really needed me, I crapped out after physical therapy. It had something to do with the fact that I could barely walk through the sandwich shop out to the sidewalk. How could I be expected to even take the class to the bathroom? I told the taxi driver to take me home.
I'm developing a good deal more sympathy for the elderly and those who are not in wheelchairs. Most handicapped accommodations seem to be designed for people in wheelchairs. It's assumed that if you can't walk properly, you have wheels. Well, not exactly. Right now, walking may or may not involve total white knuckle agony on the trip from the addition to the kitchen. Therefore the prospect of walking a block and a half to the bus stop is daunting to say the least. And forget Metro. What with the elevators that may or may not be working, and the escalators that are almost never working, your person on crutches or with a walker has a distinctly uncertain journey. Even if the elevators are working, most of them are at the end of the platforms. At my subway stop if one wants to take the northbound train, one is looking at a twenty yard hobble. I'm ready to go to bed just thinking about it.
So I'm left with the car or taxis, if some one else needs the car. I want to express my gratitude to all the lovely caring taxi drivers I've met in the last two weeks.
However, I did demonstrate my continuing commitment to Jean Hewitt and The Heritage Cookbook. While paging through the Northeast section trying to find something that could be made for dinner, as opposed to a dinner party, and could be eaten by my patient but still shellfish adverse husband, I discovered in the sauces section, this recipe.
This is a recipe that warrents reading all the way through, a great failing of mine. It has a couple of unusual fillups that may step up and bite you in the butt. For example, the sausages are to be first browned, and then poached in white wine. As a final touch, the recipe instructs the cook to put the poached sausages through a food mill. Not exactly possessing a food mill, I got my husband to chop them up fine, which sufficed. The only white wine we had was what we were drinking at dinner, so I used the leftover red. Works fine. Also, it calls for six dried Italian mushrooms that have to be soaked in boiling water. But those are optional, so I exercised my option and left them out. Son and fiance came to dinner and ate it up.
It is kind of time consuming. I started cooking around 6:00 and we still didn't eat until nearly 8:30.

Marinara Sauce with Sausage

1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 two pound, three ounce can tomatoes
1 six ounce can tomato paste
2 leaves fresh basil
3 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Italian sweet or hot sausages
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons butter
6 fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 dried Italian mushrooms, (optional)
Boiling water

1. Cook the carrot and onion in the oil until lightly browned. Add the garlic, cook briefly and add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and add the basil. cloves, oregano, salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, in another skillet, cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until brown all over. Pour off the fat from the pan. Add the wine to the skillet and partly cover. Cook until most of the wine is evaporated. Add the sausages and pan liquid to the tomato sauce. Partly cover and simmer forty-five minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of the butter and cook the fresh mushrooms in it briefly. Place the dried mushrooms in a mixing bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let stand ten minutes. Remove the dried mushrooms and slice them. Reserve the soaking liquid.
4. Remove the sausages from the sauce and put through a food mill or sieve. (Or get your significant other to chop them up fine.) Return the sauce to a boil and add the sausage, fresh mushrooms sliced dred mushrooms and the soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Immediately stir in the remaining butter. Serve immediately with spaghetti or polenta.
Makes four to six servings.

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