Monday, February 23, 2009

What do YOU do with marjoram?

Last week I bought some marjoram, and I have no idea why. Does this ever happen to you? I make a mental list of what recipes I want to try that week and then I take my mental list to the store and by the time I've gotten home I forget at least one of the things I was going to make. Something with chicken? I still don't know. When I did a little food blog search for marjoram I came across tidbit on SeriousEast called Marjoram: What is the Deal? My question is: what is the deal with this totally emo photo of marjoram? How did that happen?

Anyway, it was some interesting reading, but not many recipes mentioned. I wandered over to instead and came across this little gem, Castellane Pasta with Sausage, Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Marjoram. Oh man. There's certainly no way to make it look pretty (so I sort of quit trying... sorry, I was hungry!) but it tastes great. Kind of like the old standby of sausage and peppers, but punched up with tomatoes and marjoram and mellowed out with tangy goat cheese. If you grow marjoram or have some around, give it a try. Oh, and if you have a kick ass marjoram recipe, could you leave it in the comments, please? I still have tons of the stuff and I'd hate to let it go to waste now that I know I like it!

I made some substitutions, of course, based on what I had around the kitchen: sweet sausage vs. hot, whole wheat pasta vs. regular, adding a jalapeno because I only had sweet sausage. The link above will take you to the original, this is the way I made it.

Pasta with Sausage, Peppers & Marjoram
adapted from Bon Appetit

serves two

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb sweet italian sausages, casings removed (three links)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, semi-seeded and minced (I like a little heat, remove all seeds and ribs if you don't)
1/2 medium onion or 1 large shallot, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 pint cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 handful whole wheat spaghetti
3 ounces goat cheese

Start a large pot of salted water to boil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then saute the sausage (casings removed, remember), breaking it up into bits, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add both peppers and the onion, then saute 10-12 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the onions are golden. Stir in the marjoram and tomatoes, and saute 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes get squishy, then crush them with your spoon.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving a little cooking water.

If the skillet is large enough, add the spaghetti to the skillet. If not, return the cooked spaghetti and sausage/pepper mixture to the pot. Add the crumbled goat cheese and stir to blend, thinning with cooking water if necessary. Transfer pasta to plates and enjoy.


  1. Beautiful site you have here, Adrienne. Including that picture of the pasta dish. Welcome to the wonderful world of marjoram! Here are a few things I like to do with the stuff:
    Stir it into softened butter together with coarse salt and a bit of garlic. Spread on warm, crusty bread.
    Season squash or pumpkin soup with it.
    Sprinkle over roasted root veggies. (I like to use marjoram together with thyme.)
    Rub down a chicken with marjoram and sage and roast it.

  2. I am quite confident I have never used fresh marjorum - but it looks a lot like sage to me! I am using fresh sage in my dish tonight - can't wait!

    BTW, all your food looks delish!

  3. I saw that recipe in Bon Appetit (similar)! Yours looks fantastic!!

  4. Australian food writer Terry Durack has a hilarious piece on marjoram and how no-one seems to have a use for it. It's one of those oddities that fell out of favor sometime after the Middle Ages.

    I'm told that marjoram is good in omelettes - never tried it.

  5. I'd order this in a restaurant. :) It's beautiful.