Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Garden Ragu

As you know, I've been featuring zucchini in my meals quite a bit lately. 

It's hard not to when the garden is being ever-so-generous spitting out zucchini after zucchini!

Well, today I have another amazing zucchini experiment recipe for you. 

I had a basic concept in my mind as I began tossing this together, but the end result came together even better than I had imagined. 


Meet my Summer Garden Ragu. 

You are just going to LOVE this recipe!

Ok, here's how it happened:


I started with a pound of sweet Italian sausage, cut out of the casing. Mine came from the farmers' market, but you can use whatever sausage you like. Spicy sausage would also work extremely well in this recipe. 


I browned the sausage, and then put it in a fine mesh strainer, and rinsed it thoroughly to remove as much of the fat as possible.  I then set the sausage aside and went on to step 2. 


Step 2 was a chunky mix of onions and peppers. I wanted this to be a very veggie heavy sauce, so I used three Vidalia onions, a red pepper, and an orange pepper. 

The veggies got sauteed for about ten minutes, until nice and soft. When done, I transferred them to a bowl, set them aside, and went on to step 3. 


Step 3 started by dropping a dollop of butter in the center of the pot and sauteeing an entire head of garlic, minced, in the melted butter. 

My favorite smell, by far, when cooking is the smell of garlic as it sautees. Nothing like it!


When the garlic was golden brown and fragrant, in went the chunky cut zucchini. It all got a good spin around with a wooden spatula, so the zucchini was well coated with the garlic. 

I sauteed the zucchini for about ten minutes, stirring often. 


Now it's time to add the browned sausage and the onions and peppers back into the pot. 


Next, I added a quart container of tomato onion butter sauce, that I had frozen at the end of last summer. 

You can find the recipe here in this post. Go ahead, pop on over for a peek, I'll wait. 


Everything got a good stir, and I was happy with the progress so far. However, there was not enough tomato nirvana going on yet, so I added a 28oz can of whole tomatoes with basil. 

On a side note, remember when shopping for canned tomatoes to only buy the cans with the BPA free liner. 


These were a fantastic brand of tomatoes that I buy at a local Italian specialty market, and they were heavenly. I normally do not buy tomatoes with basil, this was an error, but I will in the future, for sure. 


Another good stir, and just look at all that amazing garden goodness. Now things are really starting to come together!

It's time now for some seasoning. I try to use as little additional salt as possible when making sauce, as the tomatoes are already canned with salt. 

In went some freshly ground pepper and a healthy sprinkle of Emeril's Italian Seasoning. 


It was just perfect for this sauce, added just the BAM!! Emeril's famous for!

Now it was time to turn the heat all the way down to simmer, put the lid on, and let this sauce work its magic. 

I simmered for about a half hour or so, to let all the flavors come together. 


Oh yeah, that's what I was looking for, right there! Look at all that gorgeousness - a wonderful, chunky sauce, exactly what I had envisioned when I started this experiment. 

I added just a touch of half and half to the sauce, and a handful of finely grated Parmesan


The sauce was served over whole wheat shells, with a few dollops of Ricotta, some freshly shaved Parmesan, and chopped fresh basil. 

I'm pretty sure I remember a round of applause when this made it to the table.

Oh wait, that could have been just me. 

I can't help it, I get so excited for great food, I clap when I taste something amazing. 

Yes, I'm weird, no doubt. 


Of course, one of the biggest bonuses was having three containers for the freezer, plus three lunches for the week. 

I can just imagine how wonderful this sauce will taste on a cold winter's day. 

Enjoying Summer Garden Ragu....while the snow piles up outside. 

Add a cozy fire and glass of wine, and I'm in heaven. I'm thinking a nice Barbera wine for this dish. 

Who's in?

48 comments:

  1. I'm in! This recipe is just what the cook ordered in my kitchen. I may be eating it all by myself with my guys not wanting veggies too much but I will entice them with the sausage. Saving this to make when my daughters give me some zucchini from their gardens!

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    1. Well, maybe you can cut the veggies a little smaller and sneak them in? :)

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  2. Congrats on the Amara nomination! I just went and voted for you...I hope it helps to make you a winner!

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  3. Yum! That looks wonderful! You clap, I dance, when I've made something good. Eyes closed, face toward heaven, savoring that taste, can't help but do a little jig of joy! Us women sure get tickled easy don't we? lol ~ Lana

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    1. I love the visual of that, Lana- aren't we just two peas in a pod?!

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  4. Replies
    1. Perfect for summer....and for the freezer as well, Magali!

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  5. I love that you keep coming up with ways to use our zucchini. Thanks Deb...looks delish!

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    1. I have a few other ways...if I get around to posting my other experiments soon!

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  6. Oh my goodness does that ever look good! I want so badly to make some up and freeze it! Sadly my zucchini are not producing and my 2 freezers are packed full at the moment! ;)

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    1. Well, we can't complain about full freezers, can we? We are truly blessed to have full freezers and pantries and fridges...and tummies! :)

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  7. Oh my goodness does that ever look good! I want so badly to make some up and freeze it! Sadly my zucchini are not producing and my 2 freezers are packed full at the moment! ;)

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  8. You need to write a book...Mountain Mama Cooks.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, you never know....perhaps someday!

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  9. I do love this recipe! You know, I was just thinking the same thing as Kim-you do need to write a book, or a cookbook. You have a real talent going on sweet friend!
    xo
    Jemma

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    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks, Jemma!! I don't know if I've got what it takes for a cookbook...but maybe in the future, who knows?

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  10. This looks fantastic! Great way to use some of that zucchini and peppers from the garden. The enormous zukes we give to the chickens...they go nuts over them.

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    Replies
    1. See? Another reason I need chickens!!!

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  11. I love your inclusion of Italian sausage. I also like your little "stove top pigs". :) I'll be sharing a recipe this week with zucchini and Italian sausage...

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    1. I can't even tell you how many years I've had those little critters on my stove....they have been with me a long, long time! There are two pigs...two cows...and a chicken! Every now and again, I toss them on the top rack of the dishwasher to freshen them up...they have held up pretty good!

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  12. Yumminess! Another of your recipes I'm going to try.

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    1. I love thinking of my recipes going in to freezers all across the US - that's a pretty awesome thought, Laurie! Thanks for your faith in me!!

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  13. I'm in! Both my hands are up in the air (well, technically I'm typing, but I think you get the pictured), and I will bring the wine! That looks absolutely amazing! I have already decided to make your sauce when I get enough tomatoes (can't stop eating them fresh!), so I will be making this recipe soon, I hope! ;) I have zucchini and red sweet peppers just starting to explode in the garden, so this is great timing! Thank you so much! You always have the best posts!

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    1. Ha ha, awesome!! Let me know when you'll be here, I'll get the guest room ready!! :)

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  14. Oh, you know I'm in, girlfriend! Good food like this and a glass of wine? Yes, please! I don't have any of my own zucchini growing this year, but the farmer's stand right up the street has plenty. I'm definitely going to make your ragu! Thank you for the recipe and the inspiration. :-)

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    1. PS - Thanks for the reminder to buy canned tomatoes that are BPA-free. I buy the ones from Trader Joe's which fit that criteria.

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    2. Oh, how I wish I had a Trader Joe's near me - the closest one is over an hour away, it's pure torture!! I try to visit it whenever I am up that way, but sometimes I just have to pass as I am just worn out and want to get home! I do love that store, I wish they would open one closer to me, I'd be there all the time!

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  15. It looks so good. Thanks for the recipe, I will be trying it soon.

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    1. Fantastic, Betty - I hope you love it!

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  16. You come up with the most amazing delicious looking recipe. Would like to be eating there!! Nancy

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    1. And I would love to cook for you, Nancy!

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    2. And I would love to cook for you, Nancy!

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  17. Reading this makes me hungry.
    I just finished eating too. Yikes!!

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    Replies
    1. Ooooh.....sorry!! I have that same problem when I look at cooking sites online or at cookbooks!

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  18. You can never post enough zucchini recipes to suit me. I love zucchini, and this looks mouthwateringly delicious!

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    1. Thanks, Pattie! It was pretty amazing, and I'm so glad I have more in the freezer!

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  19. Sounds super yummy! I have been using lots of veggies in my meals as well. Did foil dinners with chicken last night and added zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and onions from the garden. It was super yummy!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    Replies
    1. Yummm!!! Now I'm going to have to give that a try, too!

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  20. Well, I'll be honest, I'm not much of a zucchini person but this recipe might just be able to get me to love it. Do NOT appreciate that this delicious post has made me so hungry at 9:20 at night!

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  21. This looks sumptuous! What a perfect end-of-summer meal.

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  22. Hi what a fantastic recipe and money saving as well it ticks all the boxes.
    Perfect for a cold wintery day in England
    Jacky

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