Rustic Sausage and Pepper Pappardelle

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The humble sausage. Not the one with the very low meat content and tons of rusk and unmentionables, but a substantial and meat filled variety. It is part of the staple of many a European dinner table.

Andrew: Here we have used a really good pork sausage and red pepper to provide a robust and filling supper for a family. High meat content sausages hold their shape better here.

Dawn: Remember sausages were really developed as a way of making the meat go as far as it could. An excellent dish for economy. Also many sausages come already flavoured and make a wonderful variation on this dish. 

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely sliced

1 tsp chilli flakes

6 thick sausages

1 red pepper, deseeded and cubed

Olive oil for frying

Salt and pepper for seasoning

400g pappardelle pasta

Method

  • In a frying pan, heat a little oil and fry the sausages for 10 minutes, turning frequently until well browned.
  • Using a fork and kitchen scissors, cut the sausages into 2cm lengths and allow to continue cooking, so the cut ends take on the same colour.
  • Add the onion to the pan at this stage and fry gently for five minutes until it starts to soften and turn translucent.
  • Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 30 seconds. Then the peppers go on and can be cooked until they soften too.
  • A splash of wine here, or even vodka, makes for a great flavour.
  • Meanwhile put a pan of salted water on to boil and cook the pappardelle according to instructions.
  • When the pasta is cooked, stir into the sausage mix,then serve in a large bowl so everyone can help themselves.

Andrew: This was very filling on a chilly late winter evening. 

Dawn: I like the vodka twist. The alcohol of course evaporates, but the flavour remains.

Andrew: Which reminds me! Coq au vin? 

Dawn: We had better cook that soon hadn’t we?

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Pappardelle Pasta with Tuna and Tomatoes

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Fresh tuna steak is so much more readily available these days. Low in fat, high in protein and versatile, here we accompany it with fresh pappardelle pasta.

Dawn: Pappadelle? I don’t think I have used that before.

Andrew: It is a wider and slightly thicker version of tagliatelle, basically. It also looks good in the ‘verde’ version, which is coloured with spinach.

Dawn: One to make with my pasta machine then!

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 tuna steaks

2 large spring onions, sliced finely

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely sliced

1 chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)

8-10 baby plum tomatoes

100g fresh papardelle per person

Andrew: Chilli is a great option here for a winter evening.

Dawn: Ginger is also an optional ingredient for those who like a Thai taste to their cooking, with a little lime juice, too.

Method

  • While the fish and vegetables cook, put a pan of salted water on to boil and cook pasta as per the packet instructions.
  • Fry the tuna steak in a pan in a little olive oil.
  • Turn after about 3 minutes and cook through.
  • As you turn the tuna, add the onions, garlic and chilli to the same pan, around the tuna.
  • After a further 3 minutes, when the tuna is cooked, gently break it up with a fork.
  • Add the plum tomatoes, a splash of water (or if feeling a little decadent, a splash of white wine).
  • Cover and steam for a minute, allowing the tomatoes to ‘pop’.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir gently so there is an even spread of tuna and tomatoes.
  • Serve with a green salad.

Andrew: A super supper, wouldn’t you agree, Dawn?

Dawn: I would, especially as there are so many potential variations on this too. 

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Spaghetti with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Broad Beans

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Butternut squash is a wonderfully versatile vegetable, especially tasty if you have vegetarian friends to dinner. Here is a simple and economical supper for family or friends to enjoy.

Dawn: Mmm! Butternut squash! Last seen here being roasted at Christmas.

Andrew: Here it is steamed to soften it up, then sautéed with the other vegetables.

Dawn: Steaming is a way of preserving all the vitamins in vegetables, which are so often just boiled away.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-1.5cm cubes

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 chilli (optional) deseeded and finely chopped

1 tsp of basil, oregano or herbes de Provence

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced

100g mushrooms of your choice, sliced

200g frozen broad beans, defrosted

75 g spaghetti per person

1 tbsp ricotta, cream cheese or creme-fraiche

Olive oil for cooking

Salt and pepper to season

Andrew: It is possible to buy the butternut squash already prepared.

Dawn: However, it is more economical to do it yourself. Hard work if you don’t have a good peeler, but well worth it for the texture and taste.

Method

  • Steam the squash for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a fan steamer, a colander over a pan of simmering water, covered with a lid, will do just as well.
  • Allow the squash to cool otherwise it may burn of catch in the pan.
  • Put on a pan of water to boil, then add salt , and cook your spaghetti according to instructions while you cook the vegetables.
  • In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil on a medium heat, and fry the onion gently until it begins to turn transparent.
  • Add the garlic,chilli and herbs and allow the flavour to permeate the pan by moving them around. Don’t let the garlic burn.
  • Next the squash can be added keeping it moving so the cubes colour on each side.
  • Add the pepper and cook for a further couple of minutes so that it softens.
  • Now the broad beans may be added, squeezed out of their outer skins for a more jewel like quality or left for a bit more bite.
  • Allow to heat through, then add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and golden to your taste.
  • Drain the cooked spaghetti, then add to the pan with the cooked vegetables and stir well.
  • Finally mix in the cheese or creme-fraiche and serve.

Dawn: What was the cost of this per portion?

Andrew: Just over £1.50 each I believe. Of course you can substitute other vegetables too.

Dawn: Economy and seasonality! Two of our buzz words!

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