This is another of my recipes that will feed lots of hungry mouths with minimum effort, so very useful in a busy household, or just when you are short of time. Made from mostly store cupboard ingredients, it’s one of our favourites to eat, one of my favourites to make and even the dog stands patiently as this cooks, hoping to catch a little bit!
You could add extra vegetables such as peppers or onions if you like, but it’s really lovely just as it is, with maybe a tomato and red onion salad on the side? If you have a pasta machine or an attachment for your stand mixer, try the recipe I’ve given you for fresh pasta, it’s so easy, but there’s no shame in using dried pasta, or creamy polenta for a gluten-free alternative.
As usual, my ingredient list is for 6 portions as that suits my family, but whenever there’s only 4 of us it still all gets eaten. How does that work?
500g Pork Sausages – I’d like to say that it doesn’t matter what sausages you buy, but it does. I love to use the lean sausages available from ‘Stacked Foods’ in Andover, they have a lovely flavour and it’s great to see that when they are cooking there’s no unhealthy fats running oozing from them.
1 700g Jar of Passata If you don’t have this, just blitz a couple of tins of tomatoes. Be sure to half-fill the jar with water after emptying, as you need this liquid too, about 350mls.
250mls White Wine – Choose carefully, I like to use a sharp, crisp wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, if you were too use something like a Chardonnay, the oaky flavour would take over. (The Sauvignon tastes nice with the finished dish too!)
1 Fennel Bulb Sliced and chopped as small as you like. Tip – If there are any leaves on the top, keep these to scatter on the top when serving.
1 Dried Red Chilli – As long as you leave it whole it won’t add heat just flavour. If you want to add heat too, just crumble it up when adding – Tip – Wash your hands whenever you have touched a chilli, the oils can burn your eyes or skin.
½ Tsp Fennel Seeds – This is a great ingredient to lift all sorts of casseroles and stews, so buying a jar to sit in your store cupboard won’t be a waste of money.
Fresh Rosemary Most of us either have this in our garden or know someone who does, you only need a couple of sprigs chopped up, but if you are desperate use a tbsp of dried.
For cooking I like to use English rapeseed oil as it’s less likely to burn than olive oil, but any light oil will do, and of course sea salt and black pepper – nothing else, it really doesn’t need it!
For serving we all like a generous grating of parmesan cheese, but of course this is optional.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C Fan / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.
2. In an ovenproof pan, pour a little oil and empty the sausages from their skins into the pan. Fry for about 10 minutes or until golden, breaking the meat apart as you go. The kitchen starts to smell yummy almost instantly.
Note – If you handle the raw meat at all, wash your hands in hot soapy water before touching anything, pans, cupboard doors, tea towels etc, you don’t want to be ill!
3. Add the chopped rosemary, fennel, and fennel seeds and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. Then add all the liquid, the wine, passata and water, pop in the dried whole chilli, and heat through before putting on the lid and putting into the oven for 2 hours. Check after an hour and add more water if you need to.