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Country Cooking On The Go

Chef Mark Strausman, owner of the acclaimed restaurant Campagna, prepares a classically Italian "one pot" meal on The Early Show that is designed to be hearty enough and quick enough to feed the family on the run.

"We are all modern-day peasants, moving about in a constant flurry of panic, never settling in because there is so much to do," Strausman maintains.

He created a cookbook, The Campagna Table: Country-Style Italian Cooking, entirely devoted to recipes for those fast-moving peasants.

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The Campagna Table: Country-Style Italian Cooking
The "one pot" meal frees the cook to entertain and interact with friends and family in a way that more involved meals do not, notes Strausman.

Here are some of his recipes:

OLD-FASHIONED SAUSAGES AND PEPPERS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large red onion cut into 2-inch chunks
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 fresh hot Italian sausages
4 fresh sweet Italian sausages
1 cup milled or crushed canned Italian plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic, onions and peppers - stirring until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add sausage to mixture and cook for about 4 minutes until brown.
  4. Add tomatoes, red wine, oregano and pinch of salt.
  5. Cover pan and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve sausage on platter.

Note: Italian sausage should not be fried.

GRILLED TUNA WITH GRAIN SALAD

Ingredients for Grain Salad

1 cup cooked pearl barley
1 cup cooked wheat berries, cooled, or 1 additional cup cooked pear barley
1 cup cooked couscous, cooled
1/2 cup cooked or canned white beans, cooled
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper; cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper; cored, seeded, and diced
1 scallion, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
Lemon juice to taste

Preparation

  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  2. Refrigerate until 1 hor before serving; let warm to room temperature.
  3. Taste for salt, pepper, hot red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.

Note: It is recommended that you make the grain salad the day before serving.

Ingredients for the Tuna

Four 8-ounce tuna steaks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
lemon wedges

Preparation

  1. Heat a grill very hot.
  2. Season fillets with salt and pepper and arrange them in a dish in a single layer.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano and pour over the fish.
  4. Shake to remove any excess marinade and place on grill.
  5. Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate 45 degrees to make an X mark.
  6. Grill 2 minutes more, then flip the fillets and repeat on the other side.
  7. Grill until done to your liking.
  8. Remove to serving plates and serve hot, with lemon wedges and grain salad.

SAUTE'ED MUSHROOMS ON TRICOLORE SALAD

Ingredients:

1 endive, leaves separated
2 small bunches arugula, well washed
1 medium-size head radicchio, cored and pulled apart
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, portobello, chanterelle, and white button, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large sharvings Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl, toss together the endive, arugula, and radicchio leaves. Cover with a damp towel and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.
  5. Add the rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, divide the greens on serving plates. While the mushrooms are still hot, spoon them over the greens. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Chef Mark Strausman is also chef/operator of Fred's at Barney's and owner of Campagna House, a store specializing in Italian-style dinner and kitchenware, as well as gourmet ingredients and prepared foods.

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