This is a lovely and simple tomato based pasta dish from the 30 minute meals book. I used to avoid celery like the plague but it’s great in this dish and almost undetectable as it gets blended in a food processor with carrots, spring onion and chili before being cooked down and turned into a sauce. There’s lots of hidden veg in this dish and leftovers are a treat as the flavour gets even better when reheated.
The salad is simple and works well with the pasta but the tarts are my favourite bit of the meal and are incredibly easy to make. I couldn't find six deep pastry cases so I used eight shallow ones and the tarts still turned out nicely although some did overflow in the oven. We ate them with ice cream rather than creme fraiche specified in the recipe but they also work brilliantly with custard. They freeze well if you can’t get through them all in a few days.
Note: I’ve made a vegetarian version of this dish and a few tweaks are needed. In the TV programme Jamie Oliver talks at length about the necessity of good quality sausages and how integral they are to the dish. He uses a heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds to complement the pork. This is an issue if you’re swapping out the pork sausages; the vegetarian sausages I used (Tesco Meat Free Lincolnshire Style Sausages) work well in most dishes and are nice on their own but in this recipe their flavour just isn't powerful enough to stand up to the fennel and balsamic vinegar. Next time I would halve the fennel and balsamic vinegar to stop the flavour of the vegetarian sausages getting overpowered.
- 4 spring onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 1 or 2 red chilis
- 1 six pack of sausages
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 500g penne pasta
- small handful basil
- Parmesan cheese (for shaving)
- 2 red chicory
- 100g bag of rocket and watercress (prewashed)
- Parmesan cheese (for shaving)
- 1 lemon
- olive oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 small shortcrust pastry cases
- 1 egg
- 100g butter
- 100g ground almonds
- 90g golden caster sugar
- 1 orange
- 1 tbs vanilla extract or paste
- ½ jar raspberry jam (175g)
- 1 tub creme fraiche (250g)
This recipe requires a food processor.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan), fill and boil the kettle and place a large frying pan on a high heat. Add a little olive oil to the frying pan.
- Pasta - Remove the ends from the spring onions and chilies and roughly slice. Roughly chop the carrots and celery and place in a food processor with the spring onions and chilies. Process for a few seconds until coarse then transfer the vegetables into the frying pan with some olive oil.
- Roughly chop the sausages and add them to the food processor along with the fennel seeds and oregano. Once processed add the sausages to the frying pan and stir to break them up. Keep checking on them as you get on with the rest of the recipe.
- Place a large saucepan on a medium heat. Fill with the water from the kettle and a little salt.
- Tarts - Place the pastry cases on a baking tray. Crack the egg into a large bowl along with the ground almonds, butter, sugar and vanilla. Grate in the zest of half an orange and mix well.
- Spoon a little jam (less than a teaspoon) into the pastry cases and top with a large teaspoon of the almond mixture. Add another teaspoon of jam then another teaspoon of the mixture then place the tarts on the middle shelf of the oven for 18 minutes.
- Pasta - Add the pasta to the saucepan and cook as specified on the packet.
- Salad - Trim the bottoms of the chicory and pull the leaves apart. Place on a plate along with the watercress and rocket. Mix well.
- Pasta - Crush the garlic into the frying pan that contains the vegetable and sausage mixture then add the balsamic vinegar. Fry for a few minutes and then add the tin of chopped tomatoes.
- Salad - Shave some Parmesan over the salad, season with salt and pepper, then slice the lemon into wedges.
- Pasta - Drain the pasta and save some of the starchy water. Transfer the pasta into the frying pan of sauce, stir well and add some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Season well then tip the pasta into a large bowl, grate over some Parmesan cheese and tear up the basil leaves, scattering over the pasta.
- Tarts - Once the tarts are golden brown, remove from the oven and serve with creme fraiche.