Friday, October 30, 2009

Bratwurst, baked pasta, and lima beans?

As week seven draws to a close, we had only a few things remaining to make from the CSA. Primarily, there were several handfuls of salad greens, but also a single moderately spicy chili pepper.

With family coming into town, I added the pepper to a pot of bratwurst and onions. This is a favorite method of cooking these.
The Method (Bratwurst)
  1. Slice 2-3 onions
  2. In a deep pot, add:
    • onions
    • 2 bottles of dark-ish beer (Sam Adams works well)
    • 1 TBs whole mustard seed
    • 1/2 TB whole black peppercorns
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 fresh red chili pepper, whole or cut in half
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes
  4. Add 5-10 bratwurst to the pot.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes. (You may wish to move the top brats to the bottom of the "pile" occasionally.)
  6. Grill the brats as you like. They will be completely cooked already through the simmering, so you can grill for color.
  7. While the brats are grilling, continue cooking the onion mixture over high heat until most the liquid has boiled off. (You can add a splash of oil at this stage, too, if you'd like.)
The Method (Baked Pasta and Lima Beans)
First, disabuse yourself of the notion that you have to buy specialty pasta made for baking. Several brands market a "no boil" noodle - usually lasagne - that costs more. You can achieve perfectly good results with regular pasta.

I decided to use locally grown lima beans in this dish. These weren't from our CSA, but were hand-picked and -shelled by a family who has a regular stand at the farmer's market. We love limas, and they pair well with tomatoes as a rule. I thought it was worth a shot to add them here.
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Parboil 2 C fresh lima beans in water or chicken broth, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add 1# pasta to a 9x13 baking dish. (I used corkscrew-shaped pasta.)
  4. Drain and add the lima beans.
  5. Add slices of Italian sausage. (I used sweet sausage. Spicy would work, as would bulk Italian sausage.)
  6. Add 1 jar of prepared pasta sauce. (You can certainly use homemade sauce. Publix had these 2-for-1. Easy.)
  7. Mix the ingredients gently.
  8. Add enough water to cover the pasta completely.
  9. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake for approximately 45 minutes (until the cheese is well-browned).
The Results
What's not to love about bratwurst? The onions make a rich garnish - sweet with just a hint of spice from the pepper.

Baked pasta is a comfort food. The lima beans held up well - they retained some bite and mixed nicely with the chewy pasta.

Bookmark and Share


Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009