|Italian Sausage and Tomato Pasta Sauce|
It's the fennel in the sausage that makes the sausage Italian. Fennel has a very distinctive sweet anise-like flavour that sets these sausages apart. If you can't buy Italian sausages just soak fennel seeds overnight and dry roast or dry pan-fry them before adding to the dish. I learnt this trick from the Raymond Blanc Cookery School – by soaking the seeds and then dry roasting them you increase the flavours and improve the texture.
This Italian sausage tomato pasta sauce is really simple and quick to make and is easily adaptable for both the vegetarian and the meat-eater. Tagliatelle is the perfect accompaniment and you can follow my recipe of how to make your own by clicking here.
Carton of passata (approx 500ml)
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A few sprigs of fresh herbs - rosemary, thyme and oregano
Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
Glug of red wine
Sea salt and black pepper
Parmesan or equivalent, for serving
V: 1-2 Veggie sausages, 1tsp fennel seeds.
M: 1-2 Italian sausages, or regular sausages and 1tsp fennel seeds.
V: Soak fennel seeds in cold water over night or if in a rush soak in boiled water for 15 minutes. Dry pan fry before adding to dish.
Grill the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked. Slice into bite-sized chunks.
M: Grill the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked. Slice into bite-sized chunks.
Meanwhile, gently heat the garlic, chilli and glug of olive oil in a pan for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste. Leave cooking over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Divide the sauce into two pans.
V: Add the fennel seeds and vegetarian sausages to one pan and continue cooking over a medium heat.
M: Add the Italian sausages or regular sausages with fennel seeds to the other pan and continue cooking over a medium heat.
Cook the tagliatelle in salted boiling water until al dente and spoon on the sauce before serving.
Grate Parmesan or equivalent over each dish.