Italian sausage and stuff

Carollo’s Italian Grocery and Deli is a wonderfully authentic Italian deli located on the north side of the City Market. Fresh mozzarella and ricotta, octopus tentacles floating alongside “seafood salad” in barrels along the wall, and plenty of gelato to go around. If you want to eat the greatest tomato-basil-pesto-mozzarella sandwich in the world, this is the place. Patrick is also convinced that the KC Italian mob held meetings in the upper room of the deli back in the early-to-mid-century when they ran this town. If we disappear tomorrow, we’ll know that’s true.

One of the best things about Carollo’s is how pure the food is – no fancy packaging, every ingredient with a purpose. During our last weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market, Patrick picked up some Italian sausage. Ingredients: pork, water, spices, and salt. You can’t get much simpler than that. But I guarantee it’s better than anything you would find in the meat section of your favorite chain grocer.

We’ve been waiting to use it until Patrick felt inspired. Apparently inspiration came last night, as the sausage was sitting on the counter this morning to thaw all day. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this meal all day. (Side note: I know people have different views on thawing meat. And by people, I clearly mean the USDA. Well, this is how we do it. Followed by thoroughly cooking the meat. We haven’t contracted any strange foodborne illness yet. And we aren’t in the habit of eating raw chicken. So, until we do, we will continue to thaw this way.)

Tonight’s Dish: Italian pasta with a side of asparagus and garlic bread

Ingredients: Baked chicken breast seasoned with sun-dried tomato and basil spice mix, Italian sausage, rigatoni pasta, mushrooms, onion, garlic, green and yellow peppers, marinara sauce with assorted spices.

One important thing to note. Patrick does not believe in that wonderful invention called a Slap-Chop. No, he prefers to chop and mince all of the vegetables himself. I wholeheartedly support this as it means he frequently uses his very expensive J.A. Henckels knife set we got as a wedding gift. His favorite wedding gift, I’ll add.

My role tonight was very important. Pretty much vital to the success of the meal. It was my responsibility to rinse the mushrooms. All of the vegetables we used tonight were also from the Farmer’s Market. Meaning the mushrooms were individually selected and have been sitting in a plastic bag in our fridge since last weekend. There is a very specific way you should wash mushrooms, or so I’ve been told. I will spare you the riveting details and summarize by saying you have to use your thumb to get the slimy film off the mushroom “cap”. Based on research, I think this “film” is technically called the “scales.”  It’s preferred if you don’t detach the stem from the mushroom cap prior to chopping. You’d be amazed the amount of information you can find when you Google “parts of a mushroom.” Or maybe you wouldn’t.

The final two pieces of the meal are asparagus and garlic bread. Both fairly simple. Both made with a decent amount of garlic salt. Carbs, butter and salt. Three of my four favorite food groups. The fourth being chocolate, of course.

The dish exceeded expectations – the sausage more than anything. Unfortunately, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. But that just means leftovers.

What I get to clean: 2 skillets, 1 pot, 1 wooden spoon, 1 wooden spatula, 1 baking sheet, 1 strainer, 1 cutting board, and 1 large sharp knife.

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