Recipe: Linguica with Beans, Tomatoes and Kale

January has been fridge and freezer clean out month.  I do this frequently when my food supplies get overwhelming.  It’s a great way to use up what we have and also save some money in the process.  I actually really love to do this because I find it challenges me to find uses for the random things we have in our stash. The leftover brisket I had stashed away in the freezer from Christmas was perfect in the ramen I made. And clearing out the brisket helped me find the frozen beef tenderloin from Thanksgiving weekend which made AMAZING tacos when paired with avocado, salsa verde, and cheese.  It also cracks me up because I talk about freezer clean out week like we’re really roughing it, but turns out we’re still eating fantastic meals.  Lesson learned: don’t be afraid to shelf cook – it doesn’t have to mean eating tuna on crackers all week.  Get creative and turn your stash into some delicious feasts!

Perfect example: this Linguica with Beans, Tomatoes and Kale.  I’ve had several packages of frozen linguica in my freezer for months now.  It’s really popular back at home in Southeastern Massachusetts, so I often stock up on my trips there (plus, it makes really good edible freezer packs for the ice chest on the drive back to Philly — why waste space on ice when you can use frozen meat?!).  I like to use it to make frittatas, or add some smokey flavor to chilis or stews.  But the other night I was craving a hearty tomato based sauce – and I knew this linguica would be the perfect base.

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If you’re not familiar, linguica is a Portuguese sausage made with smoke cured pork and seasoned with garlic and paprika. It’s very rich but isn’t spicy – at least not the kind I have! If you can’t find linguica at your store you could substitute chorizo, mild italian sausage or garlic sausage.

I was pretty thrilled that L&H gobbled it down, but I have to admit – my most favorite part of all about this dish? It’s great for a crowd…..or for freezing extras for future shelf cooking! 🙂

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Linguica with Beans, Tomatoes and Kale
Serves 6-8

2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1.5 lbs Ground Linguica
2 15oz cans Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 28oz cans Diced Tomatoes
3-4 cups Kale leaves, thick stems removed and roughly chopped
1/4-1/2 cup Chicken Broth  (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 16lb package of Spaghetti or Linguini
Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, stirring to coat with oil, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add white wine, stirring until the wine reduces almost entirely.

Add ground linguica and stir to combine with the onions and garlic.  Let cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add cannellini beans and diced tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to the package directions.  Drain and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil.

To the tomato and linguica sauce, add the kale and stir until the leaves are wilted.  Add chicken stock IF the sauce is looking too thick.  (Note: this is optional and depends on personal preference.  I like a chunky thick sauce, but if you want a thinner sauce add more chicken broth).  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  Serve immediately over spaghetti and top with Parmesan Cheese.

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