Thursday, February 12, 2015

Italian Moose Sausage with Pasta, Beans & Arugula

If you hunt for wild game, you know how important it is to find a quality processor. My husband and I have a favorite one we use near Girdwood for our moose and caribou. They make a wicked good Italian moose sausage which is what I used in this hearty pasta dish. Beans and arugula add taste and texture, while the homemade garlic breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil finish off this healthy meal. You can easily double this recipe, which is great, since you'll probably want seconds. ~Patti

1-1/2 cups dried navy beans
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts
3-4 slices hearty white bread
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 pound hot Italian moose sausage
8 ounces campanelle (or similar short) pasta
several handfuls of arugula and/or spinach 
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for finishing

Serves: 4

Place dried beans, bay leaves, and 2 crushed garlic cloves in a pot. Cover with about 4 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about an hour and a half or until beans are tender but still hold their shape. When done, drain and reserve 1-1/2 cups of the liquid. You'll need it later.

Next, make your bread crumbs by putting the bread, walnuts, and one garlic clove into a food processor. Pulse until you have fine breadcrumbs. Then, heat 2 tablespoons of olive in a skillet and toast crumbs until golden brown. Set aside.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and cook moose sausage until browned and cooked thoroughly, breaking it up into small pieces as you go. When done, remove from skillet and set aside; leave any remaining drippings in pan. Add your diced onions and remaining 3 cloves of garlic (minced)to pan and sauté gently until soft, about 6 minutes. Return sausage to skillet and cover to keep warm.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions, making sure it is al dente. Drain pasta and salt and pepper lightly. Then, combine beans, pasta, sausage & onion mixture in one large bowl. Toss gently and add the reserved liquid from the beans. I found I needed a bit over a cup so it wasn't dry.  

Lastly, gently toss in your arugula and/or spinach. The heat will wilt the greens slightly, which is what you want. Transfer to a large serving platter and sprinkle with your homemade breadcrumbs.  

The magic ingredient, as with so many things, is olive oil! After plating, drizzle with some good olive oil. It's amazing how it brings all the flavors together. Enjoy!

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