A Winter Warmer of a Supper…tagliatelle with leeks and sausages

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A simple yet luxuriant dish to greet your family with on a Jack Frost nipping night.

Try and get hold of the best pork sausages you can – preferably Italian, if not, choose ones with a high meat content.

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For 4

6 sausages

50 gm salted butter

4 tbsps olive oil

1 leek, cut in half lengthways, sliced and rinsed

A small handful of fresh thyme leaves or a good level tbsp of dried

200 gm chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly

100 ml dry white wine

200 mll double cream

500 gm tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta

A good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Skin the sausages and place in a bowl. Add the thyme, and a little salt and a good grind of black pepper. Melt the butter in a  large frying pan – I used a sauté pan. Fry the sausage meat and the leek for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring and breaking up the sausage meat. Try to crumble the meat as it cooks and browns.

Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for another minute before pouring in the cream, stirring and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat now.

Set to one side away from the heat. 

Cook your pasta. Drain and tip back into the same pan. Pour over the creamy sausage meat mixture and the parsley and stir everything together well.

I promise you – this is a dish your friends and loved ones will want you to do again and again. I loved making it – another brilliant recipe from Gino D’Acampo. Grazie!

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Sausage Meat Balls in a mustard and cream sauce…

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Sausage Meat Balls in a mustard and cream sauce...

This is a recipe created by the marvellous Nigel Slater and it appears in his wonderful new book – Eat. Like all great meatball dishes you can play around with the idea – adjusting quantities, ingredients to suit your taste / mood. This was my attempt and I was pleased with the result – it is a different way to cook them – and simple yet succulently appealing to the senses.

For 4

6 good pork sausages – skins removed
Olive oil
500 ml beef stock – or you could use chickn stock for a lighter flavour
Tbsp Dijon mustard
A little chopped rosemary
A crushed clove of garlic
A little grated lemon zest
250 ml double cream

400 gm pappardelle

Put the sausage meat in a mixing bowl and stir in the rosemary, lemon zest and crushed garlic. Shape into small balls – I got 16 decent balls, slightly smaller than a table tennis ball. But you can make them smaller if you fancy.Cook the balls in the olive oil over a moderate heat until evenly browned.

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Get rid of any excess fat, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and let it reduce a little. Add the cream and stir in, plus the mustard. Season with a little salt and a bit more pepper. Continue to cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, stirring gently every now and then.

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Remove the balls to a warm plate with a slotted spoon.Turn the heat up under the sauce and let it reduce a little. It will not thicken though.

Pop the meatballs on a plate of warm pappardelle and pour over the velvety sauce.

You could miss out the cream and stock altogether and just pan fry the balls in olive oil then add butter and lemon juice to the pan juices at the end, pouring these over the balls and pasta. Tis up to you!

Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

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Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

Decided that last night it was a ‘let’s go with what’s in but let’s be imaginative’ supper..so the gorgeous 6 pork sausages keeping themselves to themselves in the fridge were chopped and pan fried in olive oil with a sprinkle of cumin seeds, chopped green chilli, bay leaf, garlic clove slithered, an onion finely sliced and black pepper. After 30 minutes the ensemble was looking and smelling seriously inviting – so in went 2 large splashes of sloe gin to deglaze and flavour the mix. This made the difference. After 2 or 3 minutes, in went 600 ml of chopped tomatoes and a can of drained cannellini beans. I left it for 20 minutes or so to thicken up. It was served  with some seriously large pasta shells and a side dish of asparagus spears with large loving slices of pecorino and swirls of olive oil. The sloe gin I used was from Wiltshire Liqueur Company – the link is on the side bar – lovely to use local produce.

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Cheat’s Cassoulet recipe…see I remembered!

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OK..this is not really anything to do with a cassoulet but it inspired me..and I love the word cassoulet…so good to get your tongue round..ca…sooo…lay….mmmmm! It is a great hearty dish for gathering friends round…you will need for about 6 needy folk:

60 gm lardons or pancetta or-at a pinch- smoked streaky bacon / 350 gm green lentils – Puy preferably / couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / 1 red onion  chopped / 2 cloves garlic finely chopped / 1 carrot finely diced / 900 ml chicken stock / 2 tbs olive oil / tbs red wine vinegar /  tin of cannellini beans- meat can be all or any mix of the following – 4 pieces of belly pork, grilled or pan fried and cut into large chunks /good quality sausages -2 chipolatas per person was my choice last night – you could also add chunks of boiled or roasted ham hock, roasted chicken thighs or drumsticks…use your imagination.

I use a large stainless steel dutch oven – a pasta pan would be ideal – in which you pan fry the lardons til they start to colour, add then the onion, garlic and snip in the rosemary from one sprig. Fry for 2 minutes. Rinse the lentils..add to pan and fry for a minute tops. Add the stock and diced carrot. You could also add some celery if you wish. Season with black pepper – it may need a dash of salt but should not be necessary with the lardons and stock. Put lid on and bring to boil. Then pop in the oven with lid on for an hour at 160c.

After 50 minutes, I remove the pan and pour it all into a large roasting tin – add the meat and cannellini beans – put some foil over the top and return to oven – after an hour turn oven down very low to keep warm til you are ready to serve. Just before you take to table – stir in the red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil.  I also roasted in my top oven, a tray of quartered potatoes in veg oil, sprinkled with sea salt, for an hour – adding some sliced cooked chorizo sausage for last ten minutes – gives the potatoes a lovely reddish tinge – a scrumptiously mouth filling delight- and I put a large basket of crusty bread on the table too. I put both trays of potatoes and the lentil dish on the table to serve from – and folk can also just dip their bread in as they desire!

Any leftovers are great the next day warmed through – though tis rare that there is anything left……!