I was perusing a few of the websites I have linked to this, this morning, and came upon a recipe I immediately knew we were having for dinner, tonight on Rustico Cooking.

I actually don’t remember how I came upon their website but I immediately bookmarked it because the food looked so intriguing. The recipes seemed simple but with complex flavors. And today, I decided to jump in!

I have a huge bookmark section on the computer devoted to food – what a surprise, eh?!? – and as I was saying earlier, if I just cooked the recipes I already have I’d never have to buy another cook book in my life. This has made me revisit not only my blog links, but the bookmarks, as well. I have been in a huge rut as far as cooking goes. It’s time to break out and get creative, again.

This was a great start. Naturally, I switched things around a bit, used different cheeses, but the recipe is basic and pretty much calls for your own interpretation. The bread is important. Use something fairly light that will toast well and give a nice crunch without being too heavy or overwhelming.

And something Victor and I both noted is this would be outstanding with a fried egg on top.

Next time…

Escarole and Sausage over Crispy-Cheesy Bread

adapted from Rustico Cooking

Sausage and Escarole:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  • 1 lb – a large head – escarole, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the olive oil, fennel seeds, garlic, and chili flakes in a wide pan with a tight-fitting lid. Warm gently over medium heat until it becomes aromatic – a minute or so.

Add the sausage and cook  stirring often and breaking it up, until the sausage is nicely browned. Add the chopped escarole, season with the salt and pepper, and cover.

Cook about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while, or until the escarole cooks down.  The liquid is essential to this dish, so keep the lid on. Set aside while making bread.

Crispy-Cheesy Bread:

  • 4 cups cubed Italian focaccia or other light-textured bread
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 lb low moisture Mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 oz Ricotta Salada, shredded
  • 2 oz Pecorino Romano, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Spread bread cubes onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt & pepper, if desired. Place in 400° oven for 5 minutes. Remove.

Move bread cubes to center of pan, keeping them fairly close together and in one layer.

Sprinkle cheeses on top. Return to oven and bake about 5 more minutes – until cheese is melted and bread is slightly more toasted.

To Assemble:

Reheat sausage and escarole.

Place about 1/4 of the cheesy bread on each of 2 plates. Top with 1/4 of the sausage and escarole. Add a second layer of each.

Drizzle any remaining juices from the escarole on top of the plates and enjoy!

As we were oohing and awing and deciding what else would be fun – like that fried egg – Victor’s mom just looked at us as if we were crazy. She had ziti and mild Italian sausage. Her adventurous eating days are behind her.

Ours are just starting up, again, after a bit of a hiatus.