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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Different Kind of Italian Dinner

Italians know how to cook. They really do. They know how to bring out a particular flavor and they know the right amount needed.

Sweet Italian Sausages and Roasted Grapes Salad

Over the weekend, I picked up a cookbook by Julia della Croce - Italian Home Cooking. In the book, she introduces her favorites of traditional Italian recipes. The first recipe I wanted to recreate was her Sauteed Sweet Pork Sausages with Roasted Black Grapes. Although she suggested the dish to be served with polenta, I decided to balance the richness of the sausages with a spring salad and some brown rice instead.

Sweet Pork Sausages and Roasted Grapes Salad
Adapted from Italian Home Cooking by Julia della Croce


  • 5 Italian sweet sausages
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 lb of red grapes, stripped from stems (choose small ones that are firm and ripe)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • Spring greens (for salad) 4oz
  • Balsamic dressing (1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of chopped garlic, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper)
  1. Use a sharp knife to poke a few holes in the sausages before cooking them. Put sausages and water in a dutch oven over medium heat. When water has evaporated and sausages begin to color (about 12 minutes), reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 20 minutes until browned and cooked through. Prick them once or twice (not too much) to release excess fat. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Wash grapes and dry them well. Coat grapes with some cooking spray and roast in oven in a single layer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Make salad dressing and toss with spring greens. 
  4. Place some salad on a plate and add a few small scoops of brown rice. Add sausage (or sausages) and grapes to plate. Serve hot.
Serves 2-4


  1. Really interesting dish! I don't think I've ever had sausage salad but it looks delightful! Liking the sound of that book too.

  2. This is one gorgeous meal! I love roasted grapes and haven't made them since last fall -- I'm inspired to make them again! :)

  3. wow this is new to me!! looks yummy!!!

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  4. What a simple a flavorful meal! Perfect for the weeknight =)

  5. What a gorgeous dinner...the Italian sausage is a lovely addition to the greens and roasted grapes. YUM!

  6. wow, i love how you chose to add roasted grapes to the mix!! and brown rice just complements this perfectly. what a classy meal! :D

  7. the taste of sausage and grapes is perfect combination. Love it.

  8. Ummm beautiful dinner! It looks so delicious :)

  9. Ah, I wish I had seen this before I grilled sausages last night for dinner! I would have loved to try the grapes with it.

  10. I've been wanting to make a savory dish with grapes for months now! Now, I am inspired to get my act together!!! Thanks for sharing :D

  11. I've had grapes with bread and cheese, but never with a side of sausage. :) That's very interesting... must try it!

  12. This looks awesome! I love grapes with salad, but never would have thought of pairing it with sausages - genius!

  13. this looks delicious Jessica! I like the balsamic dressing and brown rice that you substituted.

  14. I like how you bring in the spring salad and brown rice instead of polenta, for the balance to the sausage.

  15. What a savory looking dish! I like how the grapes and sausage tie the sweet theme together. Gotta love that aerial shot.

  16. I love cooking sausages but to tell you honestly I only have one recipe of cooking it. It's time to shift gears and this is the way to do it. I love the roasted grapes. I could taste it already. Thanks for the inspiration Jessica.