Saturday, June 18, 2016


I was totally on a roll with nifty one-pan dinner solutions this spring. This one from Food52 was a particularly casual-throw-together way to satisfy both the carnivore and the vegetable fan in our household. Chunks of sausage make an easy shortcut meatball; broccoli roasted in mustard, lemon and red pepper flakes is always a beautiful thing; and fennel adds a bit of extra flair. Even though I upped the sausage to 1 pound and probably the broccoli quantity as well by adding all the stems and leaves (thanks to this recipe for showing me how delicious that can be), I did feel the four servings it yielded were a bit on the scanty side, and was happy that I’d decided to serve a poached egg on top, which I will now consider essential. (I still might consider using even more broccoli next time, though.) I also threw on a little Parmesan cheese, because it plays so well with all these ingredients, and garnished with some fennel fronds for freshness. A good reminder that there are still really simple yet innovative weeknight meals to be discovered, beyond the same old boring options.

2 small to medium heads of broccoli
1 medium fennel bulb, plus a few tablespoons of chopped fronds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
Finely grated zest and one 1 teaspoon of juice from 1 small lemon
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (omit if using spicy sausage)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12-16 ounces (4-5 links) good-quality pork sausage, hot or mild
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Break down the broccoli into bite-size florets. Don’t throw the stalks and leaves away—peel the thick outer skin off the stalks and slice them lengthwise, then into ¼-inch pieces. You can use the leaves as well. Place all the broccoli in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (broiler-safe if possible).
  3. Trim and core the fennel and cut into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Add to the baking dish with the broccoli.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, whole-grain mustard, lemon juice and zest, Aleppo pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Add to broccoli and fennel and toss well to coat evenly.
  5. Remove sausages from casings and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Nestle the sausage pieces among the broccoli and fennel.
  6. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until the broccoli and fennel are tender and the sausage is no longer pink. Toss about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  7. Optional but highly recommended if your baking dish is broiler-safe: Heat broiler, and place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the sausage and slightly char the broccoli and fennel in spots.
  8. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds, and grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Great with a poached egg on top.
Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.

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