Food, Link Ups

What’s On Your Plate – Battle Cranberry-Sausage Spaghetti

Several months ago, Frank from Beach Walk Reflections left a comment suggesting I try Battle Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti. This recipe sounded intriguing. But, the more I thought about it, the more I hesitated. Cranberries combined with sausage in a pasta dish without a shred of tomato? How would I ever convince my husband to try this? To be honest, I wasn’t so sure. It sounded ‘holidayish,’ which gave me room for delay.

The key ingredients to Frank’s Battle Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti: Cranberries, Unsweetened Cranberry Juice, Sausage, Onion, Garlic, Swiss Chard, Nutmeg, Butter, Feta Cheese and Spaghetti

Frank followed up to see if I had tried his recipe. My bad. I hadn’t. I reread Frank’s post. He and his wife first learned about this recipe from a friendly battle between Food Network and Iron Chefs. You can read more about that here and here (Iron Chef, Season 3, 2006-7, Episode 19). I also encourage you to check out Frank’s version, which is well worth the read (here).

As the holiday approached, I needed to quit procrastinating about this dish (and many other things). At first, I thought that I would prepare this pasta for son #3. He came in with a hard no on anything cranberry. Then, my niece kindly offered to Zoom-make this dish with me (in modified form). But she needed to cancel due to the craziness of the season. As a last resort, I mentioned this recipe to Richard. Not only was he willing to try it (who knew?), he also offered to help out. Game on! Frank, are you watching (er, I mean reading)?

Although we usually eat very little meat (and seldom any at home), we made this recipe as written in Frank’s post. How else could we properly give feedback? This was a quick and easy meal to prepare, especially with Richard doing the chopping.

Quickly it was judgement time. It looked good and smelled great….

Yes, this is Richard smiling. This dish was so (surprisingly) tasty that Richard and I both had two helpings. Although Frank suggested that there may be ample leftovers, the picture below shows how hungry we were.
Leftovers for us were about a half portion.

Final Verdict

Battle Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti is a unique pasta dish. It is super fun to try, especially during the holiday season. It has inspired numerous versions. Here’s a similar one from battle contestant, Rachel Ray. My niece had suggested swiping out the meat sausage and using veggie links or spicy tofu instead. She also suggested replacing the cranberry juice with red wine (shh, don’t tell Frank). This latter substitution would give you a ‘drunken spaghetti.’ Here is Rachel Ray’s recipe for that.

If you give this pasta dish (or any of its variations) a try, please let me know. I’m grateful to Frank at Beach Walk Reflections for nudging me out of my boring tomato-based pasta routine.

So, what’s on your plate? Tell us in the comments, on social media (#woypbc) or by using the handy InLinkz below. Also, please click on the blue bar to check out posts by other contributors.

Donna
Deb (cohost)

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100 thoughts on “What’s On Your Plate – Battle Cranberry-Sausage Spaghetti”

  1. Hi Donna,not sure how my Italian husband would relate to a Cranberry sauce (unless it was with turkey) but I’ll test him out! High five to Richard for donning the chef’s cap and the result looks delicious. Thanks for hosting the#whatsonyourplateblogchallenge and I’ve shared a special cheesecake I made for our Festive Season and our New Year’s Eve tradtion. https://www.womenlivingwellafter50.com.au/what-was-on-my-plate-for-christmas-new-years-eve-2021/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Just letting you know that I’m an Italian-American who is second generation in USA on my dad’s side and my mother had a Green Card. Other than the spaghetti, I don’t thing it is very Italian. It is such a pleasant surprise, especially since I had to watch the show many times to determine a recipe …. and I have made outside of December! Enjoy … ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Frank, my husband came to Australia in 1952 at aged 4 but his Mum still made all the traditional Italian fare in Australia and lived until she was 94! I’m going to give this recipe a try. It is good to live outside of the box occasionally and try new things, especially with food. Good to meet you Frank and Happy New Year!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Sue – Richard is not Italian (at least not that I know of) but he totally should be. He loves everything Italian — the language, the travel and especially the food. It was a very fun dish to try and we were both surprised and delighted by the results. Sadly, with Richard’s sudden plot change to a Low Fodmap diet, many of these ingredients are no longer in our fridge or pantry. I just may need to sneak over to Deb’s for lunch when she gives this recipe a try. I am at the airport now but look forward to reading your recipe soon.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Debbie – I am now deeply immersed in Peace Research (of course I am). One of the simple takeaways is how the simple act of smiling instantly relaxes us and helps to improve our mood. According to this research, even part smiles (like the Mona Lisa’s or Richard’s) count. How cool is that. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I look forward to reading what’s been on your plate. See you there!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cranberry is something I’ve never really understood, but I do totally understand sausage and spaghetti – we have the two together with a gravy type sauce – and it’s called Sausage Surprise at our house (we all love it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Leanne – I love ‘go to’ family recipes. Up until now, our Go To dishes were Vegetarian Chili, Mediteranean Chickpea Salad….and definitely pasta dishes. As Richard is now (hopefully temporarily) eating Low Fodmap, we are looking for replacement Go To dishes. Mild Sausage and GF spaghetti could work!

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  3. One of my favorite salads is spinach with cranberries, feta cheese and walnuts with a honey vinaigrette. This spaghetti sounds like a riff on that combination. I will give it a try!

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  4. What a way for me to start my day! Cheers to you for trying it and to Richard for his willingness to jump in. I’m thrilled you gave it a thumbs up! For the record, I have cooked this dish outside of the December holiday season.

    As you can see, I interacted with several commenters. As you know, that’s what I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, my time over the next few days will be somewhere between limited and nil. Just wanted you to know. But maybe time will work out for me.

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    1. Hi, Frank – I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this post. Thank you again for gently nudging me out of my boring pasta routine. Battle Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti is such a unique and fun dish. Although cranberries always make me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I fully agree that this would be a tasty meal all year round.
      Thank you for interacting with the comments. Good luck with your busy days ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Richard is such a trooper! And quite photogenic! I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of cranberries, but if you and Richard prepared it, I’m sure it was delicious. Thanks for sharing, Donna. Happy New Year! xo

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  6. We are big meat eaters in our family so I have been focusing on non-meat recipes. Our new dil is a vegetarian so I have had to make adjustments for meals around here.

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    1. Hi, Ellen – I’ve been making meatless meals for quite a while now. I think that when you start and have a few Go To veggie recipes that you enjoy making, it will be easy to accommodate both meaters and non at your table. I am sure that your DIL appreciates any effort that you make. Thank you so much for stopping by.

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    1. Hi, Ally – When I first heard about this recipe I was intrigued by the unusual combination of ingredients. But when I originally contemplated making it, I was not so sure that it would be a hit with my husband (or with me). Surprisingly, we both loved it. Along with being a tasty dish, it was fun putting it all together and anticipating the results. One suggestion from Frank is to make sure that you do not use organic unsweeted cranberry sauce. He believes that would make the dish too tart.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes to all the recipe ingredients. A favorite condiment(?) in this family is a “chutney” with canned whole cranberry sauce, 1C drained saurkraut, 12oz jar of chili sauce, 1/4C brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer x 10 min. Yield: ~1 L. I enjoy this with cheese, eggs, beef, pork, fish. The recipe came from my friend’s Aunty Ivy. It’s rather addictive and it’s now referred to as Aunty Ivy’s Crack. Someone’s always asking – is there any crack? As for what’s on my plate, there’s a shepherd’s pie with sweet potato replacing the regular potato mashed topping. Today I’ll be making some mini quiches.

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    1. Hi, Mona – YUM to Aunty Ivy’s Chutney Crack! I will definitely give that recipe a try. I’ve never had Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes. I will add a veggie version of this to my ‘Must Make’ list! Thank you for the suggestions.

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  8. I like cranberries but my husband does not. Depending on the tartness, I may like it. Especially with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (or maybe that would make it even more tart!)

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  9. My Italian sense says “Oh Yikes!”, but it does sound intriguing. I am thinking Easter, springtime to give it a try. Thanks for the tasting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Antoinette – Great minds think alike. Although I know that Frank enjoys this dish all year round (and that makes complete sense), I still see this as a ‘holiday dish’. I blame the cranberries They always say ‘festive season’ to me.

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    2. Antoinette,
      Here’s a counter to your Italian sense. Rachel Ray has Italian heritage on her mother’s side. When she created this on Iron Chef, Rachel’s partner was Mario Batali – Italian heritage and Italian chef. And I – the one who developed the recipe – Italian-American. Hope you try it!

      Like

  10. I’ve been tempted to make Frank’s recipe since I first read about it, and now that you’ve done it with such great results, I will definitely have to make it! Tart fruit and meat usually goes well together, and I love Swiss chard. Sounds like an all round good winter dish to have in the mix!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Janet – I truly wasn’t sure about the cranberries with pasta either, but it actually was a nice combination. Earlier this week, Richard and I made a Hello Fresh dish that included cranberries in a Salmon and Couscous Dish. Perhaps cranberries are reinventing themselves a bit. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nothing home cooked on my plate this week, as we are finally moving. This looks very interesting! I may give it a try when we get to the PNW! I wonder if Frank will hold me accountable, haha! Great interaction on this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds interesting. It’s not too sweet? I reckon if I tried it I’d go with the red wine option…although we do have cranberry juice leftover from new year cosmopolitan. I think though I can say for sure Grant’s response would be “I’m not sure how I feel about that…” I however, would be tempted to give it a whirl.

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  13. My first reaction was YIKES! but I’ve had “weird” combos before that turned out great. Having you and Richard give it a thumbs up says a lot. Good luck to Richard on his new diet, I just looked it up and know I would be sad to see many of those items eliminated… but hopefully it works for him!

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    1. Hi, Janis – Your reactions made me smile.
      About the Low Fodmap — sadly it is working for Richard. I was hoping that it wouldn’t and that there would be an easier fix. So far, this one is a bit of a drag! The things you do for love! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  14. Hi Donna and Frank – I enjoy mixing fruit with meat dishes – eg Persian foods … but this sounds an interesting take on spaghetti a la ‘what’s available today’ … I’ve some chilli cranberry jelly in the fridge, which I use as an accompaniment. I don’t eat a lot of meat – but all things in moderation …
    Gosh – I’d never heard of Low Fodmap – good for Richard, and am pleased it’s working for him.

    Love these ‘What’s on your Plate’ series … being on my own I eat simply, yet remember the days when dishes came together …

    Happy New Year – cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – I absolutely love ‘What is Available Today’ meals. A few nights ago, I made a ‘Clean Out the Fridge Fried Rice.’ It consisted of carrots, yellow pepper, spinach, bacon, rice, couscous, tamarind sauce and soya sauce. Richard and I loved it and Richard ask that I make it again. Now that, I seriously could not do even if I tried! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Donna,
    I’m a bit behind on reading your blog, but I never miss it. I love cranberries but I probably love meat more. Nevertheless, this sounds interesting, and I’ll eat Italian at every opportunity. Helen makes the best spaghetti sauce I’ve ever tried, and makes a lot of it when she does. Taking several containers full in the freezer when we head out next week. Have a great week!
    P. S. When we put up our Christmas decorations, we found a copy of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” printed in 1906 in a box. It was a gift to my grandfather and I ended up with it somehow. Now I don’t have to download the Kindle version. Fun find!

    Like

  16. Hey Donna! I’m with you…it doesn’t sound good at all…but the more I think about it the more I think: Hey, maybe? I’m actually thinking about it for the future. I have never been inspired to cook something from any of the many blogs (or websites) I follow here on the internet. But yours just might be the first. Thanks for the inspiration. :-). ~Kathy

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    1. Ahhh, I’m so honoured to have inspired you. That’s awesome! Frank’s pasta dish is definitely unusual, but Richard and I really liked it. And it’s super easy to make. (Win-win).
      I hope that you and Thom are doing well. I regularly seek out your FB posts to double-check.

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  17. Donna, my Italian husband would probably have said no to cranberries and yes to sausage. I would have done the opposite. Even though it sounds awful, it looks beautiful. I think I’m going to have to give it a try seeing as how Frank suggested it in the first place.

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    1. Hi, Marsha – For some reason I have the Jack Sprat rhyme running through my head.
      “And so between them both, you see,
      They licked the platter clean
      Marsha ate all the cranberries,
      Her husband ate all the meat.
      The plate they licked it clean,
      Then gave it to the cat”
      Okay, so the rhythm got a bit messed up. Not much rhymes with cranberries.
      It’s definitely worth a try!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Donna, I love the team effort of your cooking time and great suggestions from your niece about veggie options (perfect for veggie me, although I could see my husband enjoying the sausage version). Richard is a great help in the kitchen and thoroughly enjoys the dish, I see. A lovely post and photos. I would never have thought of adding cranberries but love the suggestion! My personal favourite pasta dish at the moment involves three organic lemons, asparagus, peas, and garlic! Simple but so tasty and refreshing!

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      1. Sorry I didn’t read this sooner, Donna (Suffering the same procrastination blue, too). What a great recipe to try. I love cranberries but pairing them as a pasta sauce made me raise my eyebrows, too! I’m glad you wolfed it down and asked for more!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Well I have to say I was skeptical of what this dish would even look like, but it looks delicious! I’m not sure I could convince my family of men to try this, but they do like sausage so maybe it’s a go. Thanks for sharing your efforts, Donna, and kudos to your husband for making it happen!

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    1. Hi, Barb – I think it was the sausage that made Richard so open to trying this dish. Sausage is something that we very rarely eat but Richard has fond memories of it from his childhood. Whatever the reason, he was surprisingly open to us making this dish. It was definitely fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. your photos are great and the sausage looks like my favorite part – and so I sighed to hear your niece’s suggestion of veggie meat or tofu – I sigh because the younger culture seems brainwashed to think meat is bad to eat and sadly I feel they are missing out on nutrients – and then on the flip side – wine is touted as a self-care item or suggested when it is toxic to the body and makes the liver work harder.
    of course wine can add flavor and has chemical reactions with the rich food when cooking 0 and wine can also help us digest food in certain cases and bring ut flavors when paired with foods – but sometimes I see the whole red wine thing over done because of a little reversatol – when in fact the liver has to work hard and it kills brain cells and then some cancers are directly related to lots of alcohol consumption – but I digress
    the food photo here are great and LOVE those blue dishes – felt French and classic

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      1. I won’t tell and sometimes that is the BEST place to find treasures (was there a full set or only a few?)
        – when my husband and I first got married – his parents helped us buy our first house and that meant they put stuff in it too (later I realized I would have preferred to not have that done, but it was all good at the time – I was so madly in love a tent would have been fine – well maybe not – but anyhow, one of the dish sets we had was this “pfaltzgraff classic blue village” set and I hated it. Heavy – didn’t microwave well and was uggay (ha) – and my neighbors would come over and marvel at the extra pieces we had because they also had the same set – well when we moved five years later – I gifted them every single piece and they treasured it so much – funny how taste changes. We also got rid of the percolators and other things in the basement cupboard – thanks grandma but we have an espresso maker – hahaha )

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  21. Thank you Donna for hosting us on this new platform – I like it!
    I was frankly quite baffled by your post’s title; and when I read further, also perplexed at the name of the pasta. But after reading yours and Frank’s descriptions, I was enlightened.

    I like the sound of the vegetarian alternatives; and I do love cranberries, so it is a definite must try!

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  22. I think this sounds like a winning combination of flavors. Have pinned the recipe to give it a go. Thinking I might sub in baby spinach for the chard as I have never (knowingly) eaten chard and not sure how we would like it. Would that be a fair exchange? I add cranberries and feta to salads so I am thinking this dish would be right up our alley. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

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