Saturday is for sausage!

There is a butcher in Mercatale di Cortona where I teach, who makes the best pork sausage I have ever tasted. They make them by hand every day, and there is nothing better than a Trabalza sausage cooked over the wood coals and then stuffed into a Tuscan roll. Unless you make your own sausage, which I can’t expect you to, because I’m darned if I’m going to do it, you have to really hunt for good sausage, but just like fresh fish, a good sausage is worth hunting for. Especially because once you find them, they are so easy to cook. For pork sausages, bring a pot of water to the boil. Add a little red wine and a clove of garlic. Add the sausages and cook for about fifteen minutes. Pour out the water and rinse. Add a little olive oil. Give a few whole cloves of garlic a little golden color, and remove them from the pan. Add the sausages and cook on two sides until they are nice and brown. Meanwhile, make some mashed potatoes. My husband has been coming home with five pound bags of potatoes from the grocery store, and I think it’s a sign that he feels he’s not getting enought of them. I love yukon potatoes, and you can use them for absolutely delicious mashed potatoes, but the five pound bag in my pantry is Idaho, so that’s what I’m using. Peel them and cut them into large chunks, all about the same size. Cover them with water so that the water just comes over the top of the potates, and crowd them into a pan. Add salt to make the water taste almost like the sea. If you don’t do it now, they will never taste properly seasoned. Cover, bring to a simmer, and then cook on a low flame until they are fork tender. Drain and mash immediately. This is no time to chat on the phone, because cold potatoes make glue. Heat up a little whole milk in the pan, and off the heat, stir in some butter. These proportions are personal. I like a little bit of milk and a lot of butter. Stir into the potatoes and reseason with salt and pepper. For your veg, have broccoli rabe. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add some salt, cut off the stems of the rabe, throw it in the water, and cook, covered, for about three to four minutes. Drain well. Heat up a little olive oil in the pan, add three whole cloves of garlic for every bunch of rabe, and get a little color on the garlic. Add the broccoli rabe. Season with salt. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, and serve with the sausages and mashed potatoes. Polenta is really good with this instead of the potatoes. Or if all you have is a piece of left over bread from breakfast, make yourself a sausage sandwich, and have the broccoli rabe on the side.

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