Corona Beans with Sausage

corona beans and sausage

Are you familiar with Corona beans? They’re a large white bean way bigger than cannellini, an old fashioned heirloom bean from Europe, Italy has a fondness for them. They’re big to begin with in the dry state but when you cook them they become huge, the picture doesn’t really show how big they get but I measured them to be about an inch and a quarter in their cooked state.

They have a nice creamy texture similar to a potato.

slow cooked corona beans

I picked up a bag at the Rancho Gordo store in the Ferry building in San Francisco last week on our vacation, it can be difficult to find Corona beans in the stores most of the time but online you should have no problem.

You will find many producers of these beans but Rancho Gordo is one of my favorites, In fact I love all their beans, and I’m not getting paid to say that!

I decided to go out and buy a new crock pot since I never used mine and gave it away to my daughter, I wanted to slow cook my Corona’s after I saw my friend Cathy make a pot of Greek Gigante beans, which is also a large white bean. She tossed all the ingredients into the crock pot including the dry beans, not pre-soaked, but dry.

I have to say I wouldn’t recommend tossing in dry Corona’s they took forever to cook and to reach that creamy point, it was close to twelve hours, so next time I would definitely pre- soak them overnight to get them started and reduce the simmering time, like I said these beans are huge and they’re not exactly the same type as the Gigante beans that Cathy used, so my recipe instructions will be slightly different than hers.

corona beans and sausage

This is my Italian version of pork and beans! Beans flavored with parmesan, garlic, onions, bacon, thyme, tomatoes and red pepper flakes then after they’re cooked, topped with a ring of the best Italian sausage you can buy, which will be pan seared and placed on top for serving. This is comfort food, stick to your ribs food, a welcome to fall!

corona beans and sausagecorona beans and sausage

You have to be patient, this isn’t a quick meal, you can make the beans the day before if you want either in the slow cooker or simmering on top of the stove, I guarantee your house will smell amazing and it’s definitely worth the wait!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Corona Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Sausage
 
Giant delicious white beans called Corona. Slow simmered until nice and creamy, comfort food all the way!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. dried Corona beans that have been soaked in water overnight for at least 8 hours, then drained
  • 3 oz. bacon, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes or squished whole tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 parmesan rinds
  • a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • a big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. cooked, pan seared Italian sausage to serve on top of beans when finished cooking
Instructions
  1. Place every single ingredient into a heavy pot or crock pot, simmer low and slow for hours, soaking the beans overnight will shorten the time. The true test for doneness is to taste at least 5 beans because beans all cook at different times.
  2. They should not be hard or have a crunch to the bite but rather they should taste creamy and soft like a potato.
  3. They could take anywhere between 3 - 6 or more hours depending on how high your flame is or how fast your crock pot takes.
  4. Keep tasting for salt, and remember they blow up, and the liquid will absorb them.
  5. Remember they should reach the creamy point!
  6. Serve them in pan with curved sides topped with the pre-cooked sausage ring.

 

 

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Spaghetti Squash “Cacio e Pepe” with Asparagus Ribbons

spaghetti squash cacio e pepe style with asparagus

This recipe is a little twist on the classic Roman dish, “Cacio e Pepe”, which in Italian means, cheese and pepper. It’s traditionally made with three main ingredients, pasta, Pecorino Romano and crushed black pepper, there’s a little debate on using butter or olive oil, I use a combination, and never are there any added vegetables to the dish.

It’s simple and easy and most definitely comfort food at it’s finest!

cacio e peppe with spaghetti squash and asparagus

Like I said this is a twist on the classic, so in my version I decided to replace the pasta with wonderful spaghetti squash and for color and added depth of flavor I tossed in slightly cooked and wilted asparagus ribbons.

spaghetti squash cacio e pepe style with asparagus

The same bold and creamy flavor of the Pecorino Romano comes out and balances the spiciness of the coarsely crushed fresh peppercorns just like in the traditional version.

I repeat, crushed fresh peppercorns!

Please don’t use that stuff that’s been sitting on a shelf for ages and looks consistently the same when you sprinkle it on, it will ruin the dish.

spaghetti squash cacio e pepe style with asparagus

The asparagus is simply shaved with a vegetable peeler and then slightly wilted in a saute pan then scattered about all over the top.

spaghetti squash cacio e pepe style with asparagus

Remember, the cheese and pepper are the key ingredients in this recipe, so don’t be shy!

spaghetti squash cacio e pepe style with asparagus

I promise you won’t even miss the pasta!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spaghetti Squash "Cacio e Pepe" with Asparagus Ribbons
 
A twist on the classic Cacio e Pepe replacing the pasta for spaghetti squash and adding some asparagus ribbons.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb asparagus, on the thicker size, not thin,shaved with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra drizzle for sauteing asparagus
  • ¾ cup of coarsely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Coarsely crushed fresh peppercorns, to taste. Don't be shy!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Drizzle inside of each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on parchment and cook until a knife goes through easily, be careful not to overcook.
  3. Let squash cool completely then shred with a fork to get long strands.
  4. Place squash strands on a paper towel to get the dampness out for a few minutes.
  5. Drizzle a saute pan with olive oil and place asparagus ribbons in tossing them until wilted and bright green. Remove so they can stop cooking.
  6. In the same saute pan add the 2 tablespoons of butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toss in the spaghetti squash strands and the ¾ cup of coarsely grated Pecorino, tossing gently until heated through and cheese starts to melt, also add in some cracked pepper while tossing. If it seems to thick add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.
  7. Place on a platter, arrange asparagus ribbons all around and add the finely grated pecorino all over and more pepper.
  8. Finish off with a quick drizzle of olive oil.

 

 

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Flatbread Pizzas

flatbread pizza with eggplant

Flatbreads seem to be all the rage, have you noticed? They’re popping up on restaurant menus and wine bars all over the place. Sometimes you see them as appetizers to be shared or as a light lunch or dinner served with a salad, I’ve even seen them used for breakfast, either way they’re pretty popular right now.

flatbread

Flatbreads can be made without yeast which results in a crispy, cracker like crust, the kind I like the best and the kind I seem to find in most restaurants, or by using pizza dough with yeast and rolling it out really flat.

You can make your own, there are plenty of recipes on the web or you can buy a brand you like. Let me just say I have no affiliation with this brand what so ever, I just happened to come upon it while shopping at a new grocery store in my area, but now I’ve fallen in love!

I think they’re great to have handy when company stops by, they take 10 minutes to crisp up and the toppings are endless! Just Google flatbread pizzas and you’ll see what I mean.flatbread pizza with eggplant

First brush each side of the flatbread with olive oil, uncooked, straight from the package, place on a sheet pan, then layer your toppings on.

I used shredded mozzarella then placed sauteed eggplant slices on top along with red onion, pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, when it came out I brushed it with basil pesto, so good and great served with a glass of wine!

flatbread pizza with eggplantflatbread pizza with eggplant

Less dough, less filling, but oh so satisfying and crispy good!

scrambled egg flatbread pizza

So good I decided to make a breakfast version, this time I cut the flatbread down the middle instead of leaving it whole, brushed olive oil on each side and precooked the flatbread at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

In the meantime I scrambled up some eggs with fontina, a little leftover sausage, red pepper and spinach.

scrambled egg flatbread pizza

When the flatbread came out of the oven nice and crispy I plopped my egg combo right on top, delish!

A nice alternative to a heavier doughed pizza and perfect for entertaining this summer!

 

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