Sausage pasta in tomato ragu

This is pretty much my all-purpose pasta sauce recipe (the tomato version, anyway – see below for the cheese version). Tonight I’m making it with sausages cos they were on offer in Marksies – got up too late for the market this Saturday. We eat it with turkey quite often too for a good low fat version.

Start by browning the sausages in a wide pan. Once they’ve got some good colour and you’re starting to get some colour in the pan, remove to a plate.

Now fry a diced onion, clove of garlic, chopped courgette and a couple of sliced mushrooms. I’ve used a couple of diced carrots too as they looked a bit sad on their own – I don’t really hold with adding carrots to pasta sauce as a rule though! Peppers would have been good – fresh or charred from a jar.

Once the veg has fried until the onion is translucent, pop a lid on for about five minutes or so to let them sweat – it releases flavour into the pan that should already be mingling with all the juices from the sausages. Pour in a glug of booze to help things along. I’m using a little port as there’s no red open. Any wine works OK.

Stir this about a bit to get all the bits off the bottom of the pan and add a tin of plum tomatoes and about a mugful of stock. Give it a few squirts of tomato puree, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Add a good grind of black pepper and some mixed herbs/herbes de Province. Dried herbs are great in anything that’s going to simmer for a while but I think they’re better if you really grind them up in the palm of your hand before you add them. They sort of dissolve into the sauce for great background flavour then.

I’m not going to bang on about the quality of sausages cos I’ve already done that elsewhere, but tonight’s are M&S organic chipolatas – two packs for £4. Top quality and an absolute bargain.

Anyway, simmer the sauce for about 20-30 minutes until it’s thickened and the veggies are cooked through. Now put the meat back into the pan for a last 10-15  minutes until cooked through – check it’s piping hot throughout. A few fresh herbs like thyme and basil are a good last minute addition if you have them.

While the meat’s cooking you’ve got time to cook a pan of pasta – tagliatelle’s good with this.

If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, stir through some cooked fusilli or penne, pour into an oven proof dish and spread a torn up ball of mozzarella over the top – bake in a medium oven until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Awesome.

Easy creamy cheese sauce for pasta

This is good with fish or chicken & chorizo. To the fried meat, add a slug of white wine and lemon juice and reduce for a few minutes. Stir in a few tablespoons of creme fraiche and a small handful of strong cheddar or parmesan and warm until the cheese melts. Very easy and tasty.

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Categories: Leftovers, Pasta and rice, Student, Uncategorized, Weekend, Winter

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