Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gluten-Free Chorizo Pasta Sauce

As you know, I will shop at the farmers market as much as I can, whenever I can. There is at least one place at the Calgary Farmers Market where I can buy sausages which are gluten free. It's not very often you can find this anywhere, so I thought I would give them a try.

Chorizo sausage is a great thing to eat and play with on the stove, but gluten-free? I wasn't sure at first, but we tried a small sample at the booth. The flavour is there for sure. A little different, but it's there. This could just be the recipe, not the fact it is gluten free. The more I think about it, I believe the only difference between regular sausage and gluten-free is the gluten-free is more chunky, meaning it's not as smooth in the casing as regular sausage due to the missing bread crumbs and possibly egg used as a binder. Big deal. As long as the flavour is there, I'll use it. If you don't know what chorizo is (or if you even care...), take a look -


6 Chorizo sausages, fresh not cured
1/2 Onion, red or yellow, diced
1 Red, yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 Clove garlic, minced
1 398 ml, 14 fl. oz Can of tomato sauce. I used Earthpure Organic this time as this is what I had available. I will use diced, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce or any combination of these. I usually go with the diced or whole and a can of sauce or crushed to help thicken the sauce.
1 796 ml, 28 fl. oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tsp tomato paste
Pinch of fresh rosemary, chopped
Pinch of fresh thyme, chopped
4 Basil large leaves
Handful of fresh parsley, curly or Italian, finely chopped
1 Tsp Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Slice sausage casing down the middle with a knife. Peel back the casing to expose the meat inside and scrape out with a spoon or use you hands. Heat a little EVOO in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan and begin to break it apart using a wooden spoon. Keep doing this as the meat will clump constantly and you don't want it to brown.

When the sausage is cooked, almost starting to turn brown but not quite, add the onions. When the onions turn translucent add the garlic and the peppers and a little salt and pepper. At this time I also take a paper towel, pull the sausage to one side of the pan and tilt it the opposite way from the meat to absorb the fat which has come out of the sausage. Fat is flavour, but a well made sausage has the flavour in it from the spices, not the fat. You'll still have a nice flavour from the sausage afterwards. You can use Italian sausage for this recipe as well. If you do, don't add any basil as the fennel seed in the sausage will give the sauce a licorice-like flavour which basil has already. But, it's YOUR recipe, so you decide on your own. If you want more of this flavour, then go ahead with the basil. It's that simple.

After 5 minutes, add the tomatoes (whichever ones you decided on). Stir to incorporate all ingredients and add the tomato paste. At this time, add the heartier herbs, rosemary and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

When the sauce is done simmering, stir and taste for seasoning. Add the parsley and basil. You can chiffonade or tear the basil by hand into small pieces about the size of the end of your thumb. Stir again and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar to bring a touch of sweetness to the sauce. This adds another level of flavour which will make your palate very happy. Let sit for another 15 minutes and serve over pasta.

I used linguini this time, but you could also use spaghetti, spaghettini or any thin pasta. It is a hearty sauce which doesn't require large, thicker pasta to help soak up the sauce.

The longer you let a cooked sauce sit in the fridge (I'm talking a day or two maximum), the better it gets as the flavours get a chance to come together. There is no harm in letting a sauce sit before you eat it. Just make sure you let it cool down after the cooking process before you put it in the fridge.

Little O's Menu

We had O try this sauce and she liked it. We didn't let her eat much of it because of the acidity in the tomatoes. Small doses and moderation, never a bad thing.

For her breakfasts, we have been feeding her a little more bread. We are getting a little braver with what we feed her now, and have moved towards almond butter. She likes this very much and eats it without making any funny faces. This, along with the Bosc pear and/or the apple puree, yogurt, cinnamon and rice cereal fills her up quite nicely. Makes for a good, long nap afterwards too (and the people rejoice, yay). Another thing we stumbled upon was mild cheddar cheese. After yesterdays doctors appointment and the mandate to start fattening her up (9 months old, 16 lbs, 3 oz's, 28" long), cheese is one of the ingredients which we are adding to her diet. She didn't like it at first and wouldn't eat it, but when we added small chunks to her apple puree, down it went. Apples and cheddar cheese. She definitely has an adventurous little palate. I know it's a popular combination, especially in the US, but I'm impressed with her as it is not something I thought a baby would eat. Success!

Foodie Events

The Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival ( is coming soon to Calgary and Edmonton. This is a showcase of local restaurants and liquor stores, and vineyards from across Canada. It's a lot of fun and usually there are some good eats, in small portions, to be had. If you are looking for high-end fare, don't go. If you are looking to have a good time surrounded by 1,500 other people looking for the same thing, then go. Definitely.

Today's quote:

"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese, garlic makes it good."

- Alice May Brock

Until next time, good eating everyone.


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