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Italian Sausage with Fennel and Grapes

The pairing of sausages and grapes, which may seem unusual, has a long history in Italian cuisine and is really delicious. This hearty country-style dish is very easy to prepare. We like the way the sweetness of roasted grapes, fennel, and onion forms a perfect backdrop for the spicy sausage. Choose whatever type of sausage you like: hot or sweet Italian, chicken and apple, or andouille, for example. This rustic dish makes a great autumn or winter dinner when partnered with some hot crusty bread and a glass of full-bodied red wine.

From The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet by Myra Goodman

4 Servings

Ingredients

1 Tbsp

olive oil

1 lb

uncooked sausage, such as sweet or hot Italian (cut on the diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices)

1 Tbsp

balsamic vinegar

1

yellow onions (cut in half through the stem end, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices about 3-1/2 cups)

1

fennel bulb (cut in half lengthwise, core removed and outer layer discarded if discolored or very thick, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, about 2 cups)

5

garlic cloves (crushed, peeled, and halved lengthwise)

2 cups

Earthbound Farm Organic Seedless Red Grapes

salt (to taste)

2 tsp

ground fennel seed

Directions

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it's shimmering hot. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until it is well browned and the fat is beginning to render, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate lined with several layers of paper towels and set aside to drain at room temperature. Reserve the fat in the skillet.

Place the vinegar in a medium-size bowl and add the onion, fennel, and garlic. Toss to combine. Then add the grapes (leaving them whole), salt, and ground fennel, and toss again to coat all surfaces. Transfer the mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion and fennel begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

Add the sausages, pressing them down into the vegetables so they're partially covered. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the fennel and grapes are tender and the sausage is cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve hot.

 

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