Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

One-Pot Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Hearty, filling, and needing only one pot, this comforting dish will warm a three-dog night. I first cooked with passata (strained uncooked tomato purée) during a visit to Italy, but have since found passata on some upscale American supermarket shelves.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 sweet or hot Italian sausages (5 to 6 ounces each), casings removed
  • One 24-ounce jar of passata (see above) or one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi, fusilli, or other small, tubular pasta
  • 5 packed cups baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Step 1

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Use your hands to pull the sausages apart into small pieces; add to the skillet and cook untouched for 1 minute.

Step 2

Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals and breaking up the sausage into 1/2-inch chunks, until browned and crispy on the outside with no pink remaining.

Step 3

Carefully pour in the passata (it may splatter), then add the cumin, red pepper flakes and 2 cups of water, stirring to combine. Season with salt and increase the heat to bring to a boil.

Step 4

Add the pasta, coating it with the liquid. (It won’t be fully submerged, and that’s OK.) Adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer with small bubbles forming on the surface. Cover and let cook, stirring every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking at the bottom of the pan, until the pasta is al dente, about 1 minute less than the package instructions. If the pasta is still hard at this point, add a few tablespoons of warm water at a time and cook until just al dente. Depending on your pasta size and shape, you may need to add several tablespoons of water.

Step 5

When the pasta is just al dente, reduce the heat to low and season to taste with salt. Stir in the spinach in batches, and cook, uncovered, until most of the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute more. (It will continue to wilt in the heat of the pasta after you serve it.) If the pasta seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon warm water at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.

Step 6

Divide the pasta among serving bowls. Top with Parmesan and serve additional extra virgin olive oil on the side for drizzling.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake

Rustic and moist, this Ligurian cake deserves a place in your olive oil baking repertoire. It will infuse your kitchen with the scents of late fall—apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. No frosting is required, but we wouldn’t say no to a drizzle of warm honey or a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 large Gala apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • Orange juice to soak apples in
  • 3 cups all-purpose our
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water or apple cider for 15 minutes
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 2

Place the chopped apples in a bowl and add orange juice—just enough juice to toss and coat apples to prevent browning.

Step 3

In a large mixing bowl sift together the our, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Step 4

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, add the sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Mix on low for 2 minutes until well-combined. While the mixer is on, add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix another 2 minutes until mixture increases in volume (it should be thicker but still runny).

Step 5

In the large bowl with the dry ingredients, make a well in the middle of the our mixture. Add the wet mixture (the sugar and olive oil mixture) into the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just blended; it will be a thick batter (do not add anything to loosen it).

Step 6

Drain the raisins (which have been soaking in warm water) completely; rid the apples of excess juice by blotting them with paper towels. Add both raisins and apples to the batter and mix with spoon until well-combined. Again, batter will be fairly thick.

Step 7

Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Spoon the thick batter into the pan, and level the top with the back of a wooden spoon.

Step 8

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 9

Cool completely in the pan. When ready, simply lift parchment up to transfer the cake to a plate or cake stand. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Serves 6 to 8 — Recipe adapted from themediterraneandish.com

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions with Mushroom Lardons

Some of our favorite members of the Brassica family, brussels sprouts, star in this vegan-friendly mélange of seasonal vegetables. Large king oyster or shiitake mushrooms can be found at many supermarkets or Asian food emporiums. Feel free to substitute other meaty mushrooms, such as portobellos or creminis.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts, halved (or quartered, if large)
  • 8 ounces fresh red or white pearl onions
  • 8 ounces medium shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 6 to 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 pound king oyster or shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss together the brussels sprouts, pearl onions, shallots, thyme, and 1/4 cup of olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with the pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Roast until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven; remove and discard the thyme sprigs.

Step 2

While the brussels sprout mixture roasts, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned and nearly crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the soy sauce, smoked paprika, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer the mushrooms to paper towels to drain. Stir the mushrooms into the brussels sprout mixture just before serving.

Serves 8 to 10 — Recipe from Food and Wine, November 2020