Poor Bubba, there is precious little meat in our house lately. I mean, I'm not averse to meat. In fact, some people make fun of my meat eating habits going so far as to mimic my dinner orders to insinuate that I'd like my meat with a side of meat please, which is not always true.
Around our house though, I'm so consumed with the glut of tomatoes that I've reworked every recipe to incorporate as many of them as possible, thus forcing out the meaty parts to make room.
Turkey sandwich? Um, no room for turkey. Just slice up a tomato, put it on the same toasted bread and have yourself the Midwestern delicacy known in our house as Tomato Sammich. It goes nicely with quartered tomatoes. And tomato juice. And salsa. And whatever it takes to reduce the tomato basket to nill before nightfall.
Lasagna? No room for ground beef when you jam all the tomatoes between the layers of pasta that are swapped out for layers of eggplant because that is everywhere, too and ew it's nasty when it goes bad in the fridge.
Meat sauce? Where am I going to put the damn meat when I get done manhandling all these tomatoes into the pot? I just don't have a zippy bag big enough to store tomato sauce if we keep throwing in all this filler.
Hot dogs? Ok, we can still have hot dogs. But only because we never have hot dogs (boo) and I don't imagine that chili cheese tomatoes would go over so hot, but please encourage me if you'd like to see a confused and annoyed Mister.
Anyway, I finally gave in during one particularly mournful moment of Man Wishing when Bubba said, of the pie I assumed was perfect in every way, that it would be *SO* much better with some meat. Of some kind. And don't look mad because it's not that I didn't like the pie but I would just like it even more if it were meaty in addition to tomato-ey, ok. Don't cry! Never mind, I don't need meat. I love it. And you. Put down the knife, please.
After I got over the whole "Bubba doesn't love all things I cook unconditionally and without any changes whatsoever" I realized that he might be right. In a scary quiet moment that I have not revealed to anyone until now.
I decided to consult the expert, the original Woman of the Savory Tomato Pie, Farmgirl Susan herself, to see what kind of meat she would recommend. I suggested ground beef, sliced spicy sausage - she suggested crumbled Italian sausage.
Mmmmmm...yes, that might work.
And after a trip to the Good Butcher and a grody moment in my kitchen that involved de-tubing two sausages (puuuuuuuuuuuuke), I crumbled the sausage successfully in the pan and felt very good about the direction in which my revised recipe was heading since it smelled like spicy meat love (whoa porn) in my kitchen and all grossness had passed.
After that, the recipe proceeded as before: load the pie pan with the biscuit crust bottom, schmear on some homemade pesto (thank you friends who gave us a bathtub of pesto from their garden last year), a layer of my sliced tomatoes, some (lots) of mozzarella, The Meat, more pesto, more tomatoes, more mozz, the Parmesan and, finally, the top biscuit crust.
I made a green salad (with more tomatoes, thank you I am good at this) as more of a prop for the dinner plate because, well, having pie for dinner alone can, I suppose, look gluttonous. But pile up a little watercress salad next to it and, Tee Dah, balanced meal. Of course there was also wine.
Sure, this addition of the sausage added a bit to the spillage factor over last year's nearly grease-free version, but MA-donna was it good. I had two slices and then forgave Bubba for originally suggesting quietly that it *might* be a wee tiny small bit more fabulous with meat.
Score one for Bubba.