Friday, February 18, 2011

February 17: Sausage and Spinach Pastry Squares with Cherry Tomato-Arugula Salad

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4 tablespoons Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
   Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 bunches of arugula, cleaned and trimmed of thick stems (about 4 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over high heat with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Add the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a spoon ensuring all the big chunks become small ones. Add the onions, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Once the sausage is brown, remove the skillet from the heat and drain the excess fat.

Cut each of the 2 sheets of puff pastry into 2 equal rectangles. With a pastry brush, paint the Dijon mustard on the top of each piece of pastry. Refrigerate the mustard-painted pastry until the sausage is ready.

Arrange the defrosted chopped spinach in the center of a kitchen towel, wrap the towel around the spinach, and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Put the spinach in a mixing bowl, add the lemon zest and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage mixture to the spinach and incorporate well.

Arrange the pastry rectangles on a cookie sheet. Place a quarter of the sausage-spinach filling on the bottom half of each piece of pastry. Fold the pastry over the filling, gently tugging at the pastry to cover the filling.

Using a fork, firmly crimp the edges.

With a sharp knife cut two inch-long slits in the top of each pastry. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. While the sausage and spinach squares are baking, prepare the cherry tomato-arugula salad.

In a salad bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO, the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, chopped shallots, and parsley. With a fork, lightly crush some of the cherry tomatoes.

Once the sausage and spinach squares are cooked, add the arugula to the tomatoes, then toss to coat.

Serve the sausage and spinach squares right on top of a generous helping of the tomato-arugula salad.


This meal is like something I might order in a restaurant. You know those meals that you order because you would never make it at home? Well, I thought I'd never make anything like this, but it really wasn't that hard. I did forget something though. I forgot to add the cheese into the filling before I filled and baked the squares. Oops. Oh well, we just opened up our squares at the tables and sprinkled in the cheese. It was still good.

I used dried sage instead of fresh, I used Dijon mustard, I used Parmesan instead of Parmigiano, I used grape tomatoes instead of cherry, and I used mixed greens instead of arugula. Those really aren't very big changes to the recipe. It was very good, and this will be one of those recipes I try to make every year!

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