Sunday, 26 February 2012

Spicy Italian Sausage Fusilli

A Jamie Oliver pasta dish here - one which he describes as being for “proper blokes” for some reason. I’m not one for being discriminatory with food, although he does go on to say that girls “tend to like it as well”. So that’s OK then.

There isn’t really a sauce to speak of but the gutsy flavours from the sausage meat and herbs coat the pasta, aided by a few spoonfuls of the starchy cooking liquid. I use nice fat spicy Italian sausages here but any good proper butcher’s sausages will work well too - buy the best quality you can afford as crappy cereal-packed cheap ones just won’t work.

Spicy Italian Sausage Fusilli
Serves 2

1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 dried red chillies, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
300g good-quality coarse spicy Italian sausages (2 fat ones), skins removed
1½ tsp dried oregano
½ wineglass of white wine
zest and juice of ½ lemon
250g fusilli
a small knob of butter
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Pulverise the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed and put aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the sausage meat into the pan,breaking it up using the back of a spoon. Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour, crushing more so it’s like coarse mince. Throw in the bashed-up fennel seeds and chillies and cook on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until the meat becomes golden brown and slightly crisp and caramelised in places.

Stir in the oregano and pour in the white wine, allow it to gently bubble away and reduce by half before adding the lemon zest and juice.

Reduce the heat to as low as possible then cook the pasta, according to packet instructions in a large pan of well salted boiling water until al dente.

Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, then toss the pasta with the sausage meat and about 5 tbsp of the cooking water. The pasta should be well coated and glossy with the “sauce” ingredients then stir through the butter, parmesan and chopped parsley.

Check for seasoning and adjust carefully as necessary then serve with some freshly cracked black pepper and a little extra grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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