Mad Culinary Science with Premio Foods

About 8 weeks ago, I was given a free package of Premio Sausage to try out, courtesy of Premio Foods and Influenster
 

Woohoo! Free food! Thanks Premio and Influenster!


 
Problem was, Premio sausage is only sold at Costco in Ohio, and Costco does not take manufacturer coupons, even for freebies from the manufacturer.  Oooops.  I would have had to drive about 2.5 hours to lay hands on a package of sausage, so I held out until our Thanksgiving trip to my family's house in FL, where Premio is sold at Winn Dixie, among other retailers
 
Thanksgiving, being a food-based holiday with its own traditions, did not allow me enough time to make a sausage-centered meal for the fam, so I ended up packing it in a cooler and trucking it back to Ohio. 
 
FINALLY - time for some fun in the kitchen! How about a tasty marriage of a calzone and a spanakopita?  In a nice little package perfect for sharing at those upcoming holiday office parties?

 

Italian Sausage Phyllo Cups
(makes 20-24)
 
1 med or 2 small onions
1 pint mushrooms
1-2 sticks butter, divided
2 tomatoes
1 5-6 oz bag of baby spinach
1 16 oz tub ricotta cheese
1 package Premio Mild Italian Sausage
1 package phyllo dough or puff pastry
Seasonings: garlic (salt or powder, your choice), basil, oregano, parsley, crushed red pepper
Optional: shredded mozzarella cheese or sliced provolone cheese, bell peppers
Serving sauces: pizza/marinara sauce or alfredo sauce



1. Set frozen phyllo dough aside to thaw, at least 40 minutes.
2. Finely slice onions and place in saucepan with about 2-3 tbsp. melted butter.


3. Season onions to taste.  I highly recommend going heavy on the garlic and crushed red pepper, as the sausage is very mild, and the garlic will balance the notes of fennel and caraway.

4. Finely slice the mushrooms and reserve in a bowl.


5. Cut a slit in the sausage casing. 


Remove the ground sausage meat from its casing and reserve in a bowl.  Repeat for all five sausages in package.



6. Sweat the onions until translucent, nearly starting to caramelize. 




7. Add the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms cook down.



8. Break apart each sausage link into chunks, and add to the saucepan.


9. Stir the mixture, continuing to break down the sausage chunks as they brown.


10. When the sausage has finished browning, remove the mixture from the saucepan and reserve in a large bowl.  Add a tablespoon of butter and the entire bag of spinach leaves to the saucepan.


11. Stir and cook the spinach leaves until they wilt.  The moisture from the spinach will partly deglaze the saucepan, absorbing all of that lovely flavor that is stuck to the sides and bottom.

12. Add the cooked spinach to the sausage, mushroom, and onion mixture. 



13. Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the ricotta cheese.  If you have mozzarella shreds or provolone slices (which will amp up the flavor), add them at this time.  Mix well to distribute the cheese(s) through the hot ingredient mixture.



14a. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID IN THE FOLLOWING PICTURES, WHATEVER YOU DO.  (I had a brain fart and completely forgot Heat Transfer 101 - must have conduction to fully bake dough, otherwise the moisture will not be able to escape.)  DO NOT USE SILICONE LINERS!  GREASE THE MUFFIN PAN!  OR USE PARCHMENT PAPER LINERS!

14. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C / Gas Mark 4.  Grease a muffin pan with butter (yes, use butter, not spray. Butter is what will crisp up the phyllo and give it that fantastic flavor). 

15. Finely slice the tomatoes (one of mine had a split in the middle, so I had to slice it in half before slicing it down).



16. Unroll the phyllo dough and slice the stack of sheets into thirds.



17. Take about five sheets of the 1/3 slice of phyllo, and gently press it into the muffin cup.  (Work quickly, as the dough dries out quickly and becomes brittle.)



18. Fill the phyllo with the ricotta/sausage/et al mixture.



19. Top with a slice or two of tomato.



20. Wrap the excessive phyllo up over the top of the mixture and tomato, and seal by brushing the top liberally with melted butter.


This one came out Pinterest perfect... and the rest just tasted good.

22. Repeat for all muffin cups in the pan.



23. Bake for 40-45 mins, until the tops are golden brown.



24. Turn the pan over, and the cups should fall right out.

25. Serve with pizza/marinara sauce for dipping.  Garnish with parmesan and parsley, if desired.




 

The verdict: Premio Mild Italian Sausage is, just that: mild and Italian.  It's got a great flavor profile that will do well with most dishes where sausage is smothered in complementary flavors.  Things like lasagna, stuffed pastas, pasta marinara w/sausage, sausage sub / hoagie / grinder (assuming that there's caramelized onions involved).  It cries out for lots of onions and garlic to give it some more oomph.  It's a very good product (and likely the recipe of someone's Nonni in NJ), and can be the star of the meal (with a good makeup artist) or the supporting player. 

Want to get your hands on some Premio? Check out their website for product selection and for the retailers nearest you.  While you're there, register for free coupons and save a few bucks!  Say #premioplease!





 
 
 
 
 
 
Discosure: Complimentary product provided by the manufacturer, through Influenster.com, for purposes of review.  Content is original.  Opinions are my own.
 

Comments

  1. Yummmmm!! These look amazing. Definitely worth taking a Lactaid pill for. I love ricotta, and spinach, and sausage, and onions..and basically everything here. We will have to try these (no silicon present of course...).

    www.betweentheracks.com

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