We’re in the second week of a serious lockdown during this pandemic and while I’m self-isolating on my own, I’ve bee re-creating some classic Tiny Italian recipes that I hadn’t cooked for a long time. I had forgotten how good some of those dishes were and were the catalyst to my love affair with Italian food. That includes this sexy Italian sausage ragu.
I remember the first time I cooked this dish. I had bought myself The River Cafe – Book one, the one with the shiny blue front cover. At the time, I was in my early twenties, living in Brighton, where I lived in a house with 3 guys. Their diet was awful and I found myself falling into bad habits. However, on occasion, I would offer to cook and this dish would go down a right treat. They would be practically licking their bowls, looking up at me, wanting more.
Since then, I knew this sausage ragu would be my secret weapon when dating and it never failed me. If I liked someone enough, I would cook them this dish and it would always go down a storm.
What I love about this dish is gives you the same comfort as a good bolognese but it doesn’t take as long to slow cook. A good bolognese may take at least a few hours to maximise its flavour. However, this sausage ragu only takes about 45 mins. Italian sausages are already packed with salty flavour and combined with sweet juicy tomatoes it’s a marriage made in heaven. The addition of cream and parmesan directly into the sauce, adds a level of decadence that when you have your first mouthful, I can guarantee that your eyes will be rolling into the back of your head in ecstasy.
I’ve already had some lovely feedback from people who have cooked it since watching my cookalong last weekend. Give yourself a treat, cook and enjoy this sexy sausage ragu.
Italian Sausage Ragu
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Italian dry herbs
2 Italian sausages or high quality pork sausages, removed from skins and roughly chopped.
150g pancetta or streaky bacon
50ml red wine
500ml tomato passata or tinned tomatoes
20ml double cream
20g parmesan, grated
250g tagliatelle, mafalde or rigatoni pasta
ITALIAN SAUSAGE RAGU
- Drizzle olive oil into a saucepan. When it has heated, add the chopped onion and garlic. Make sure it’s well coated in the olive oil and cook on a low heat until the veg has softened. It will take about 5 minutes
- Next, add the chilli flakes and the dry herbs, a good pinch of each, and stir well into the veg and cook for another a few minutes.
- Add in the sausage meat and pancetta. Cook until it has cooked through and browned.
- Pour in red wine, turn up the heat slightly and cook until it has evaporated.
- Pour in the passata, bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add a little water if it’s starting to look dry.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted boiling water as instructed on the packet. Time it with the finished cooking time of the ragu.
- When the tomato sausage ragu has finished slow cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Then, add the cream and parmesan. Give it a good stir and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta to the ragu and give it a good stir ensuring that the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately with extra parmesan.