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

Dry-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

Nothing says “special occasion” more eloquently than beef tenderloin. To make sure the mild flavor of the meat is front and center, we rub it with a fragrant paste of fresh herbs, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil before oven-roasting. You can even skip the red wine sauce and drizzle the sliced meat with more olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed, but left whole
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus an extra sprig for a garnish
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus an extra sprig for a garnish
  • 2 tablespoons peeled minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup good red wine, preferably Italian
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled shallots
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place an empty, heavy-bottomed roasting pan into the oven for 10 minutes. While it is heating, combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Rub this seasoning paste evenly over the beef tenderloin.

Step 2

After 10 minutes, remove the roasting pan from the oven, drizzle the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan, tilt to coat the bottom of the pan, and add the seasoned meat. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the tenderloin over and return to the oven to sear the second side for an additional 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and cook until the meat reaches your desired doneness using a meat thermometer (an internal temperature of 135°F for medium rare), approximately 15 to 18 minutes of additional cooking time.

Step 3

In the meantime, make the wine sauce: In a saucepan, combine the wine, shallots, and salt and pepper. Reduce by half. Whisk in the thyme and butter just to heat through. When the tenderloin has finished
roasting, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice the tenderloin into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a platter. Spoon some wine sauce over the top.

Serves 8 — Recipe adapted from epicurious.com

Ribolitta

In the spirit of cucina povera (poverty cuisine), Italian mothers and grandmothers have repurposed for generations a thick vegetable stew (every family has their own recipe) by submerging bread and cheese in it and reheating.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, trimmed, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled garlic
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
  • One 15-ounce can whole
    peeled tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your fingers
  • 4 cups vegetable or other stock, such as chicken or beef
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 3/4 pound chopped kale or escarole
  • 4 large, thick slices country-style bread, toasted
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Step 1

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large oven-proof pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 2

Heat the oven to 450°F. Drain the beans; if they’re canned, rinse them under cold running water, then drain again. Add them to the pot along with the tomatoes and their juices, as well as the stock, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the soup bubbles steadily; cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the flavors meld, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 3

Fish out and discard the rosemary and thyme stems and stir in the kale. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Lay the bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top and overlap as little as possible. Scatter the red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Step 4

Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.) Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve with extra virgin olive oil for drizzling.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from cooking.nytimes.com