Easy braised sausages in tomato sauce

Let's take a short break from sweets and chat about dinner today.  I'm constantly on the lookout for dinner recipes and ideas to try out (I tend to focus heavily on breakfast and dinner when it comes to cooking).  I'd like to say it's all about finding great meals for my family but in truth, it's as much about keeping things interesting for myself, as the cook.  
It's invigorating to try something new, learn something, and potentially find a new family favorite or something you'd want to whip up again and again.  I love simple and easy recipes because those are the ones we fall back on and rely on day-to-day. Of course, more elaborate dishes and meals certainly have its own rewards. 

But for the most part, the recipes that catch my eye are simple ones like this one.  It's a near hands-off way to cook sausages and I ultimately ended up making two meals with it.  All you have to do is place sausages (I used sweet Italian sausages) in a mixture of tomato sauce and chicken stock and let it simmer until done.  No messy pan-searing of the sausages first!  Check on it a couple of times to give it a stir and it'll be ready in about half an hour or so.  I served the sausages, along with some of the sauce they cooked in, over grits (the quick-cooking kind that only takes a few minutes) but you could go with mashed potatoes or say, polenta.

For the second act:  Here's a bonus - take the leftover sauce and turn it into a quick pasta sauce for the next day!
Even if you do not have any sausages leftover like I did, you could just use the extra sauce for a tasty pasta dish.  If you like a somewhat creamier red sauce, add a couple spoonfuls of ricotta cheese.  I didn't have ricotta on hand so I only used Parmesan cheese.  It was easy and tasty.

And that was two easy dinners that were well worth making!


I first saw this recipe (as well as the pasta follow-up) by Nick Stellino on his TV show. I must say, he's quite a funny character and I've been enjoying this series that features some knock-out looking Italian recipes.

A few quick things I'd like to mention about this braised sausage recipe.  First, you might notice that these are small sausages, called salsicciotti in Italian.  You can buy regular sweet or spicy Italian sausages and simply make your own salsicciotti.  First, take your finger and press down into the center of each sausage (essentially marking them in half).  Then, use both your hands and twist the sausage a couple of times, effectively turning it into 2 sausages.  Take a knife and simply slice them into two pieces.  My son got a kick out of seeing me do that!
I used a little over a pound of sweet Italian sausages.  The recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs. and I could have easily fit another sausage into the pot if I wanted to.  To cook, just place 2 cups of tomato sauce and 1 cup of chicken stock (I used store-bought) into a saucepan.  Heat it to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then add the sausages and let them cook over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes.  I kept a lid partially covered over the pot, checking on it every 15 minutes to give it a stir.  It's as easy as that!
To be on the safe side, I used a meat thermometer and checked to make sure the sausages were cooked to 160 degrees.  Mine were done by half an hour.  I served the sausages up on top of grits; on the show, they were served with mashed potatoes. You can serve the meal family style, or individually; you can also slice the cooked sausages or leave them intact.  
Reserve the leftover sauce and an easy pasta dinner will be ready in no time!  I simply reheated the sauce and let it cook a few minutes to reduce/thicken slightly.  Toss in pasta of your choice (cooked to just about a minute shy of being done so it can finish cooking in the sauce and absorb some of the flavor).  Off heat, add a healthy portion of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  If you have it, a couple spoonfuls of ricotta cheese (I think mascarpone will also work), along with the Parmesan, will make for a creamier sauce.
I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!  There's three days of leisurely breakfasts and family dinners to look forward to!  I plan to kick things off tonight with a fun dinner of Philly cheesesteaks and frozen hot chocolates.  The weather might not be ideal for grilling so I'll have to come up with some other fun themes for dinner so I'm off to the market; hopefully, I can load up on strawberries while I'm there!  I also think it's time to churn my first batch of ice cream this weekend.  Time to get to work!


Recipe:

Braised Sausages in Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Nick Stellino

- Serves 4 - 

2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
About 1 1/2 pounds sweet or spicy Italian sausage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Serving suggestion: grits, mashed potatoes, polenta

Start by cutting each sausage in half to make smaller sausages, known as salsicciotti in Italian.  For each sausage, take your finger and press down into the center of each (essentially marking it in half).  Then, use both your hands and gently twist a couple of times to turn it into 2 sausages.  Take a knife and slice into two pieces. 

Place tomato sauce and chicken stock into a saucepan and heat to a soft boil over medium heat.  Add the sausages and continue to cook over low heat until sausages are cooked through (160 degrees using a meat thermometer), about 30 to 40 minutes.  Stir every 15 minutes.  

Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve sausages with some of the sauce, over grits, mashed potatoes, or polenta.  You can serve the meal family style, or plate individually; slice the sausages or serve intact, according to your preference.

Bonus:  Use leftover sauce from recipe above for pasta the next night!  Refer to this recipe for Nanci's pasta or simply warm up leftover sauce (about 1 cup for 8 oz. of pasta) in a saucepan, then stir in pasta that's barely cooked to al dente.  Stir together for a minute, then off heat, finish by stirring in some grated Parmesan cheese and/or a couple spoonfuls of ricotta cheese.  




20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes, the fellas do like their meat.

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  2. This is one hearty and delicious meal. Slow cooked sausage in a tomato sauce makes your whole house smell fantastic.

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    1. So easy peasy - it was well worth a try. Have a great weekend!

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  3. I love that sauce! What a terrific meal and I too love something simple for dinner. Hope you and your family have a terrific weekend. Maybe the weather will cooperate so you can grill. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Monica!

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    1. It was incredibly easy, Tricia. The sun is shining right now so I'm very happy! You have a relaxing long weekend!

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  4. This looks SO tasty and comforting! Perfect for the dark and gloomy week we've been having here. I know my guys would love it for sure and that sauce sounds absolutely amazing! Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday weekend, Monica!!

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    1. Yes, we seem to be getting that rainy April in May this year. This was an easy dinner for a change on a weekend. : )

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  5. Hi Monica, oh I love that you have 2 meals out of this sauce Monica, both sound amazing. I have never prepared grits before, will have to quickly change that. Happy Memorial Day to you!

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    1. It's a great simple meal(s), Cheri. Hope you had a good weekend.

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  6. Wow!! Love the colors and combination of flavors. This looks super delicious. Love the sauce. Yum yum

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    1. It's so easy. I'm glad I tried it!

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  7. I love everything that has sausage in it...they usually are easy and packed with flavors...both recipes look fantastic!
    Have a wonderful week ahead :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. Hope you're having a good week so far!

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  8. This looks great! I love meals like this, all in one pan, nice and simple and so many ways to use it.

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    1. Leaves time to do other things - just need easy meals, especially in the summer.

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  9. I like this sentence: "I'd like to say it's all about finding great meals for my family but in truth, it's as much about keeping things interesting for myself, as the cook." I feel exactly the same, I could not have said it better. :) And I do this kind of thing too: cooking a second different meal with leftovers... I usually turn the leftover sausages into a potato sausage stew but my kids would be very happy about pasta as well.

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    1. haha - yes, so glad you can relate. It's true, isn't it. It's boring to cook the same old thing and making something new is interesting as well as gives us something to talk about. Your potato sausage stew sounds great...lucky kids!

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  10. My daughter loves sausages like anything and tomato sauce is her other favorite. I am pretty she would enjoy this one with tomato sauce. Thanks for this lovely share.

    Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. As parents to little ones, so much of our cooking is about finding something they'll love, isn't it! This is certainly a super easy dish to try, with classic flavors. :)

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