Brussels Sprouts, Italian Sausage and Balsamic Glaze

brussels sprouts and sausage

If brussels sprouts always seem to make an appearance on your holiday table then you’re in for a real treat with this delicious combination. Roasted brussels sprouts tossed together with the flavors of sweet Italian sausage flecked with fennel and spices and adorned with a rich, aged balsamic glaze.

This creation came to me last year by way of a friend and fellow blogger Lori, at Taste With The Eyes and I’ve been making it ever since. I served it for my family last Thanksgiving and I have to say not only does it taste amazing, it makes a gorgeous presentation on the table.brussels sprouts and sausage

Those of you who are on the fence about brussels sprouts I urge you to give this a try, the combination of the Italian sausage and the sweet balsamic glaze helps to cut the slight bitterness of the brussels sprouts, and roasting them heightens the flavor.

brussels sprouts and sausage

The holidays are upon us with Thanksgiving right around the corner get out your prettiest platter and grace your table with this amazing side dish!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week as well as this holiday season.

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Brussels Sprouts, Italian Sausage and Balsamic Glaze
 
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Ingredients
  • Brussels sprouts, normal to small size
  • Italian sausage, sweet with fennel
  • Good quality balsamic glaze in a squeeze bottle for easy decorating
  • parsley
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice your sprouts in half lengthwise
  3. Toss sprouts with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet cut side down and roast until tender and golden but not overcooked or too deep of a caramelization.
  5. In the meantime remove sausage from casing, place into a skillet on the stove and crumble it into bite size pieces.
  6. Cook sausage until completely done, remove and drain on paper towel.
  7. Toss the roasted sprouts with the cooked sausage, add some chopped parsley and place it all on a beautiful platter preferably with a rim so you can decorate it with the glaze.
  8. When your ready to serve and eat it drizzle some balsamic glaze all over the sprouts and sausage ( go light it's very potent, taste to see if it's to your liking) then decorate the rim of the platter with more of the glaze.
  9. NOTE:
  10. You can make this ahead of time and heat it up, everything EXCEPT the glaze, do that the last minute.
  11. Don't get too hung up about amounts just put it together, it all works!

 

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Balsamic, Reduced to Perfection!

A long time ago I tried reducing down a bottle of balsamic vinegar, everything was going good, I was about 35 minutes into it, stirring constantly and watching it slowly thicken up, I turned away for a brief minute and when I came back it was at the point of no return, completely caramelized and stuck to my pan plus I was left with a horrible smell of burnt vinegar lingering in my house, that was the last time I did that! Since then I’ve been buying bottled balsamic glaze already reduced and ready for me to use on the spur of the moment. You’ll always find a bottle or two stocked in my pantry.

Recently I was asked if I wanted to do a product review for Mandarano Balsamic Glaze & Sauce, the company produces and bottles entirely out of Modena, Italy using authentic regional grapes along with an award winning 400-year old family recipe, of course I said yes, and I’m so glad I did! The intense thick, rich, sweet yet sour flavor that comes through enhances everything you use it on, and I mean everything! I would highly recommend it!
Check out their website they’re running a promo, with an additional discount at checkout using the letters,PIC


Wonderful on meats of all kinds, vegetables, grilled and roasted (to die for!) I love roasting those mini red, yellow and orange peppers in olive oil and then to finish them off I gently drizzle balsamic glaze all over and toss, add some crumbled goat cheese and it becomes a beautiful side dish, what flavor!

Go easy and taste as you go, you don’t need to use so much. Try it on potatoes, eggs, caprese salads, cheese, fruits, I could go on and on, and because its already in a squeeze bottle its a convenient way to garnish your plates just like the Chefs do!

I like to use my glaze as a finishing sauce as I did in this chicken recipe. I marinated the chicken breasts in a zip lock bag for a couple of hours using an everyday balsamic vinegar that I have, ( I would never use my glaze to marinate) along with olive oil and some crushed garlic.
Grill up your chicken and when its done place fresh mozzarella on top along with basil leaves and either a garden fresh tomato slice, or as I did, a roasted red pepper. Garnish and drizzle with that rich and dreamy balsamic glaze! Perfection in each bite!

Like I mentioned above balsamic glaze enhances fruit, think strawberries, pears and apples etc. If you peeked into my fridge right now you would see 3 containers of grilled stone fruits, apricots, peaches and plums. I grill them ahead of time and use them for all sorts of things, like this quick salad above. Simply toss some greens with your favorite vinaigrette, add crumbled goat cheese, ( check out the one below) toasted walnuts and top it with a grilled peach drizzled with balsamic glaze, so simple but it tastes like a million dollars!

OK, my other new obsession, ( thanks to my friend Mary-Alice) is honey goat cheese, have you tried it? Oh my, it’s out of this world! Where have I been? She got it from Costco and I’ve since bought it there and I recently discovered Trader Joes has it, a different brand but it tastes exactly the same. If you don’t shop at any of those stores check out your local cheesemonger I’m sure they know all about it, but FYI, my Whole Foods didn’t carry it either.

It’s creamy, tangy and slightly sweet with a touch of honey, its the perfect balance, everyone that has tried it falls in love at first bite, if you love goat cheese, you’ll love this!

Have a nice weekend and Buon Appetito!

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Barese Sausage and Munchies!

Barese sausage is quite different from your typical Italian sausage which is normally made with fennel. Barese sausages are finger thin, sort of like the shape and size of a breakfast sausage. These sausages are similar to an area in southern Italy around Bari on the Adriatic coast.

Lucky for me I only have to drive about 35 minutes to get to a wonderful Italian market that makes them fresh on a daily basis!

The ingredients in Barese sausage vary but usually they consist of the meat being either pork or lamb or a mixture of both. Herbs, such as parsley or basil, some garlic, parmesan or romano cheese and some type of tomato product either paste, plum or sun-dried.

I have a friend who was born in Bari and years ago he taught me his simple method for cooking them up on top of the stove.

Place the sausage in a skillet with white wine, enough to almost cover them. With your burner on medium high keep turning them often until they reach an ugly gray color and the wine cooks out. I like to poke some holes on each sausage with a tooth pick so the wine really gets in and flavors them even more.

After the wine pretty much dissipates, remove the sausage, drizzle in some olive oil and place them back into the pan and brown them up to a nice deep golden color, that’s it! A very simple method, but oh so flavorful!
If you can locate some Barese sausage in your area, I highly recommend you give it a try!

They’re perfect as part of an antipasto platter because of their size, in fact I served them on Super Bowl Sunday along with my Balsamic Glazed Peppers with Eggplant, Olives, Marinated Asparagus, Salami, aged Asiago and Provolone cheese, and this addicting Cauliflower Pesto,( Thanks Stacey!) and of course let’s not forget the stack of crispy Crostini!

For Stacey’s addicting Cauliflower Pesto here’s the recipe. My family loves roasted cauliflower with romano cheese so I eliminated the raisins and capers and added 1/2 cup of grated romano to mine. Slather this on a crostini and you will be forever hooked!

Another addicting little treat are these Balsamic Glazed Peppers with Eggplant! Equally as good slathered on a crispy crostini or placed into your favorite sandwich. Wait until you find out how easy they are to make, providing you have a bottle of good quality balsamic glaze sitting in your fridge. Two brands I personally like are Colavita and Blaze if you don’t have any please seek some out, it’s so nice to have a go to bottle to quickly flavor things up, it’s also great drizzled over cheese. Of course you can always make your own in a pan by reducing balsamic vinegar down until it becomes a thick rich syrup consistency.
Here’s what you do;

Slice thin strips of yellow, green and red peppers, also peel and slice your eggplant into strips. Toss them all with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in a hot 425F oven turning them often until they become tender with a nice deep color. Half way through the roasting process start pouring on the glaze and keep checking and tossing. Start out small but add as much glaze as you like according to your own taste. When they cool down place in a bowl and add chopped parsley and 1 crushed garlic clove, be sure to drizzle in more olive oil! Toss and enjoy!
Buon Appetito Everyone!
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AUTUMN SIDES

These are two very easy sides to make, because your oven does all the work! The hardest thing would probably be cutting up the vegetables! Preparing your veggies with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roasting them at 400F gives a nice carmelization to them all. And if your lucky to have a “convection roast” setting on your stove, that’s even better.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Hazelnuts, all tossed with Brown Butter and Sage. I saw this combination in a magazine and loved it ever since! I think it was shown with whole pecans, which would be equally delicious!

Brown butter and sage, is simply made by melting some butter on medium heat, tossing in some fresh sage, heat until the white milk solids turn brown, and sage is crispy.

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Acorn Squash

Taking balsamic vinegar and simmering it down until it becomes a dark, sweet rich syrup, and then pouring a generous drizzle over your squash, makes it irresistibly good!!!
Have a great day, and Buon Appetito!!

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