Friday, 25 January 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I've been asked a few times what I made for my husband's Welcome Home meal when he got back from Afghanistan. To be honest I'd have been onto a winner with pretty much anything, because as far as I can gather he lived on salad and tuna wraps for the whole year...
Now his favourite thing would probably be a stew, but that's not greeted with the same level of enthusiasm by the rest of the family, so instead I went for the next option on the list - spicy sausage pasta.

Everyone loves spicy sausage pasta - it's been a universal hit ever since I found the recipe in One Year At Books For Cooks (1996!)
I'm ashamed to say lack of glossy, tempting photos meant this little paperback sat unloved on a shelf for years. How it escaped the charity shop/car boot sweep I'll never know, but SO glad it did.

The sausage pasta has been adapted over time - dressed up, dressed down and made more child-friendly. But I always try to add the chopped rosemary and fennel seeds. I'm pretty sure they give this pasta dish the edge.

Pack of 6/8 good meaty sausages
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 dried chillies crumbled (or 1...or none)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 heaped tablespoons of creme fraiche
about 100g of grated parmesan
A good sauce-holding pasta like penne

Fry the onions until soft in a little olive oil, then add the sausages with skins removed (cut the skin along the length of the sausage and peel off)  Stir to break up the sausagemeat, but don't overdo it.

Cook for about 10 minutes and drain off any excess fat. Now turn the heat down and add the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and the dried chilli, if you're using it. (Two for punchy hot - one for warmth. I put one in when I make it for a family meal and the kids don't seem to have noticed...all part of my master plan for chilli domination.. )

Cook slowly with the herbs and spices for another 10 minutes, then stir in the tin of chopped tomatoes.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently while you cook the pasta. The original recipe uses penne, but any you have in the cupboard should do.
When the pasta's almost cooked, take the sauce off the heat, add the creme fraiche, give it a good stir before tipping in the drained pasta and half the parmesan.
Serve straightaway with the rest of the cheese.

Perfect comfort food. Whatever the weather.


  1. Sausage pasta is always a winner. Looks delicious.

    1. thanks R - and couldn't resist sneaking some of your lovely bread into the photo! The almost 8 year old has asked me to make another loaf for his birthday tea :)

  2. Hello hello! I've been missing in action and tonight began to make some inroads into reading up on missed blogs and posts.
    I adore your new crochet blanket. Amazing colours for a cheapy pick up. A real find..... And a picture of you!!!! ok maybe taken some time ago, you look lovely! Interesting comments. The thought of letting go and letting my little one into the big bad world terrifies me.
    But the post that made me nearly cry and then laugh, i'm afraid, was the beloved tree that had to come down. I implore you to get your carving done sooner rather than later. I had the same idea about a much less precious tree, I wanted to create a chair out of the stump. I had a four foot stump at the front of the house for about 6 years. Then one day, i came home and Mr TB had been trying out his new chainsaw.....and did me the 'favour' of ridding us of the eyesore of half a tree.
    Delighted you are still blogging away. Hope things are great with the big man home. xx

    1. Missed you Bee! Lovely, lovely to hear from you. Still thinking about the carving - varying opinions - a sensible friend planted a seed of doubt, saying we could spend a fair bit on it, only for the whole thing to rot. Funny enough my husband has been looking up how to carve a seat online! Sorry you lost your tree stump :( though suppose it was done with best intentions xx

  3. Looks and sounds delicious! I am a sucker for anything with chillis! :)