I sort of have an obsession with eggs. And it’s sort of gotten worse over the last year or so, but there’s a qualifier involved, I can’t stand an over cooked egg. Things such as frittatas, quiches, scrambled eggs, all are questionable unless made by myself or a deeply trusted cook. It’s a texture thing. When it comes to whole eggs (boiled, poached, fried) it must be a medium yolk, which surprisingly, takes love and attention to one's egg. Whites set but not browned or rubbery, yolk still a deep orangey color and thickened like a sauce but not too runny and certainly not pale and chalky. I’ve come to truly love eating eggs for breakfast as well as for lunch or dinner, something I never really thought about doing until an Italian friend served us sautéed onions and potatoes that he had cracked eggs over and cooked until the yolks were barely set, and just like that called it dinner! I loved it and made it often with fresh herbs, and sometimes tomatoes while we lived in Italy. Then two autumns ago, while I was out visiting in California, my friend Andrew took me to an amazing Israeli restaurant for shashuka (eggs poached in a spicy Mediterranean tomato sauce) and my egg obsession really started to grow. I make a riff on the tomatoes with bacon, parmigiano-reggiano and good olive oil almost weekly. I’m known, famous even, for adding a poached egg to pretty much anything and calling it good; salad, soba and other Asian inspired noodles, pasta. You name it, and I’ve probably got an instagrammed photo of it.

This afternoon, I made a late lunch out of garlic, sausage, potatoes, and a can of tomatoes. Then cracked a few eggs into them and delighted in the outcome. I used breakfast sausage because most of the premade sausages don’t appeal to me. Sweet Italian sausage links aren’t at all similar to what we ate in Bologna, and I don’t particularly care for the abundance of fennel seed. If they or any other type of sausages appeal to you, please, use them to your taste. I also normally use red potatoes but had a lot of leftover brown russet potatoes left over from St. Patrick’s day, so threw those in instead. Versatility is the heart of this recipe, and that means it will always be delicious. Accompany this one dish delight with sliced baguette and lots of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

 Rustic Sausage and Tomato Stew
Serves three hungry people

3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
2 medium sized red or brown russet potatoes, medium dice
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
16 oz Breakfast style pork sausage
6 large eggs
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
about 4 handfuls of fresh arugula

Warm about two tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium high heat, add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add sausage and brown about five minutes stirring occasionally. In the meantime dice potatoes and add to the pan along with the can of tomatoes plus one canful of water and fresh thyme. Cook until potatoes are tender 15-20 minutes on medium low heat. Reduce heat to low. 

One at a time crack each egg into a small bowl and arrange over the tomato mixture. Cover and cook until eggs are just set about 8 minutes or so, whites will be completely set and yolks will be slightly firm to touch.

Serve in shallow pasta dishes and garnish with a few handfuls of torn arugula and sea salt. 

Buon appetito!

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