Recipe: Fusilli with sausage meat, fennel, chilli and white wine

Fusilli with Sausage meat, Fennel, Chilli and White Wine


Feeds four

Ingredients: 500g Fusilli pasta, 4 quality sausages, fresh fennel, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, bottle of white wine, one onion, three garlic cloves, fresh parsley, a lemon, chicken stock. 

Cooking time: 1 ½ hours

Method: Let me start by saying I hate recipes. As openers to a recipe go, I realise that's hardly selling it. If you stick rigidly to this, great, if it doesn't get you engorged, feel free to windmill with it.

I first ate this at my friend's house; I can't remember where he got the recipe from but it was ten years ago and over time it has metamorphosed into this. Initially it was a quick fix - one of those do-it-in-30 minutes jobs. Well, I have time on my hands and I enjoy cooking, so I stretched it out. In my opinion it benefits the dish.

To begin, make sure the white wine is cold. It doesn't help the recipe but nobody except tramps and students like warm white wine. Pour yourself a large glass. I used Sauvignon blanc, but it's you drinking it.

Finely chop up the all the garlic, onion and about a third of a bulb of fresh fennel. Fry it gently in some olive oil. Take the sausage meat out of the skins, if you don't know how to do that then jump off a bridge you tool. The Darwin Award is the only one life will hand you and even that is posthumous.

When I say “quality” sausages I mean preferably from a butcher. I got spicy Italian ones from our butchers because they compliment the dish. Posh supermarket ones are fine though. 

Do not, and I repeat do not, use Richmond's for God's sake. In fact I think Richmond sausages might be proof that God doesn't exist. Why do bad sausages happen to good people?

Add the sausage meat to the pan, breaking it up with the spatula as it cooks. Turn the heat up a bit. Do not brown the meat, just cook it through. Add half a bottle of white wine (you might need to open another bottle of white wine), the chicken stock, a tablespoon of ground fennel seed, two tea spoons of chilli flakes and half a pint of hot water. Season, bring to the boil and simmer.

Keep the sauce reducing down, but not so much that there's nothing left. You want a wet sauce, more viscous than water but remember it needs to cover a lot of pasta. The sauce should thicken a little and be fairly fatty from the sausage meat. Taste the sauce. If it needs more salt and pepper add it. If you want more chilli, add it. Drink more wine.
When the sauce has been simmering without losing fluid (if it does add water or wine) for about half an hour to forty five minutes, dump the pasta into boiling, salty water with a drizzle of olive oil.

The reason I use fusilli is because the sauce is watery and I'm told there's a larger surface area on fusilli or something. I don't know I ain't a scientist. What I can tell you is that if you use spaghetti it'll be like noodle soup and anyone eating it will immediately think you're an idiot and you'll never have sex again*.

Very finely chop the parsley, including the top end of the stems. Nothing wrong with a stem. These leafers piss me off. Grate the lemon and squeeze its juice. You'll need all of this in a minute.

When the pasta is al dente, take half a cup of the pasta water out, drain the pasta, then put it back in the pan with said half cup of water. Turn the sauce off, fling it in the pan with the pasta, add the parsley, lemon rind and juice and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir together and serve in bowls. If you're a fancy tart, which I am, sprinkle some parsley on top, photograph it and put it on Instagram.

Then eat it. 

But like I say, this is all just a suggestion. Enjoy.

*This is not from experience, there's all manner of other reasons I'll never have sex again.

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