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.