Tag Archives: Sausage

Gnocchi Sausage Bake

This is a cracking little recipe we just devised.  Delicious fresh, and even better reheated, it’ll warm your bones in cold weather, which we’ve been experiencing a lot of in the Scottish Borders recently.  It’s got everything you’d want from a quasi Italian supper: tomatoes, basil, garlic, protein, a bit of stodge, a bit of spice and, of course, as much cheese as you dare.  Oh, and it’s also really easy to eat from a plate on your knee when your house isn’t quite ready yet! Go on, give this little gnocchi sausage bake a try!

Gnocchi Sausage Bake

Gnocchi Sausage Bake

Ingredients

  • 8 pork sausages
  • 1 packet gnocchi (there's a time and a place for homemade gnocchi and this isn't it!)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 pepper - we used red
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp red wine (if you have a bottle open - don't waste a new bottle if it's not a good excuse to drink it!)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tin plum or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small carton passata
  • 1 beef stock pot
  • fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme and basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (in addition to the fresh)
  • 6 tsp mascarpone
  • plenty of parmesan to grate on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 180c and place a large saucepan on the hob at a high heat.
  2. Squeeze the meat out of the sausage skins, breaking it up with your fingers as you do so. This meat should be nicely seasoned so it won't need anything else adding to it at this stage.
  3. Put the sausage meat into the pan and let it brown on both sides, breaking it up with your wooden spoon as you do so, so that you're left with uneven chunks (you're not aiming for mince though!). You'll probably find that the sausages release quite alot of fat and water, so drain some of it off if it's impeding the sausages' browning ability. This bake will be tastiest if you can get lots of crispy bits onto your sausages. When they're ready, pour onto a plate or into a bowl and set aside for the time being, then put the pan back on the hob, turning the heat down a couple of notches, but leaving in any remaining fat (or as much as you prefer) for cooking the onions in. Fat is flavour, remember!
  4. Slice the onion and chop or grate the garlic. It isn't imperative that the garlic in this recipe should be absolutely finely milled, so feel free to chop away with your knife if you don't like grating or want to save on the washing up - if the pieces are larger or more uneven than is ideal it won't matter too much as the flavour will have time to break down and disperse, meaning there's not too much risk of biting down on a bitter chunk of raw garlic.
  5. Let the onion and garlic cook out for five minutes or so on their own before adding anything else to the pan, but be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  6. Slice the pepper and add in, followed by the spring onion.
  7. Next, spoon in the tomato puree and stir it vigorously into the vegetables, letting it cook out for a few minutes to mellow and sweeten, before adding the wine and vinegar (if using them). Cook out until the liquids have reduced almost completely, then add the tinned tomatoes and passata. A helpful tip we like to follow is to swill out the tins with a little water and add this to the sauce as it will be quite thick and will thicken even more as it cooks and the moisture in the pan evaporates. You can of course add water from the tap or gnocchi pot later on, but we like to add extra at this point to loosen everything up, and it also means not wasting any tomatoey residue on those cans!
  8. Add the stock pot (or a stock cube dissolved in only a small amount of water) and then the dry herbs and spices, salt and pepper.
  9. Add the sausage back into the saucey pan to let them cook all the way through and add to the flavour of the sauce.
  10. Leave the sauce now to cook for 20 minutes to half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  11. During this time, you may wish to start the washing up and prepare the gnocchi, as it can take much more time than the 2 minutes the packet suggests, unless you're happy to use a very big saucepan and have mighty fast reflexes, as you need to scoop it out as soon as it floats to the top to avoid it becoming rubbery, so I find it easier to boil it up in small batches to avoid any panicking, splashing and risk of rubber gnocchi. Leave it in a colander to steam off.
  12. The next stage is somewhat optional, which is frying off the gnocchi in a little olive oil. Optional but I like the little bit of crunch and toastiness it adds.
  13. Add the fresh basil to your sauce, check the seasoning, and now you're ready to put it altogether.
  14. Stir the gnocchi into the sauce and put the whole lot into a large casserole dish.
  15. Next, spoon on as much or as little mascarpone as you would like (remember that it's very creamy).
  16. Then add a few basil leaves to the top, and grate on your parmesan.
  17. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mascarpone has started to gild on the top.
  18. Serve up with green vegetables and crusty bread if you're feeling generous!
  19. Buon appetito!
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If it’s a special occasion – why not make our chocolatiest chocolate cake for pudding?

Easy Peasy Spaghetti and Meatballs

You will not like this recipe if you don’t eat pork! However I suppose you could try it with beef sausages (oh yeah, the secret ingredient here is really good quality sausages) but the texture and flavour would be much, much different. 

  
To me, sausage and pasta is a match made in heaven. In fact, I was at Grand Italia last week and ordered the Penne Norcina instead of the Penne Piccante, just because I had a hankering for pasta and sausage. Needless to say, it didn’t quite hit the spot (I’m blaming the rich, creamy sauce for that) and I decided I had to whip up a portion of this guy to feed the craving. 

You will need (to feed one):

2 good quality pork sausages

Half white onion

Half red pepper

1 clove garlic

Glug of white wine

Tin chopped tomatoes (or a about half a jar of passata if you like your sauce smooth)

1 tsp mild chilli powder

Salt and pepper

Splash Worcestershire sauce

Splash balsamic vinegar

Pinch caster sugar

Dash lemon juice

Sprinkling of dried or fresh parsley and basil (fresh is best)

Half teaspoon dried oregano

Small dash olive oil for the pan (tiny tiny because the sausage will release a lot of fat)

75g or so of spaghetti to serve (I had wholewheat spaghetti as I’m having to make up for lots of “holiday” eating and drinking.

 
1. Slice the onion and pepper into your preferred shape. Sauté at a low to medium heat until starting to soften then add in the grated garlic clove and cook for a further 10 minutes or so, or until the onion and pepper starts to soften, being careful not to burn the garlic. 

  
2. Squeeze the meat out of the sausage skin (you could also cut the skin open and remove the meat but it isn’t as fun) and roll into small balls. Add to the pan and gently brown on a sides. This will let the sausage become crispy on the outside.

  
3. Add the wine and heat until the liquid has mostly cooked out and reduced away. You may need to turn the heat up a bit for this.

4. Add the tomatoes, stir and turn the heat back down to a simmer. Add all the seasoning apart from the fresh herbs. Put the spaghetti on to cook. Continue to simmer.

  
5. Taste and add anything you think is missing, then add the fresh herbs and cook for another 5 minutes or so. If the sauce dries out, swill a little water round the tomato can and add to the sauce.

6. Drain the spaghetti, offering up a tablespoon or so of the pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce, stir, serve. 

  
Buen provecho!

Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Leftovers and store cupboard recipes seem to be the order of the day just now (trust me, my bank account is a fan!) so here’s another of my favourite quick midweek meals which largely uses ingredients from the kitchen cupboard and freezer. Unfortunately, the only way to make these types of recipe work in a relatively fresh and healthy way is to add in some fresh vegetables, but they tend to be relatively cheap and easy to pick up at lunch time or on the way home. 

  
You will need: 

1 red pepper

1 onion 

1 clove garlic

1 tin chopped or plum tomatoes or passata

Salt and pepper

Oregano, parsley and basil, 1/2 teaspoon of each 

Pinch sugar

1tsp lemon juice

1tsp Worcestershire sauce 

2 sausages per person

Portion of pasta per person 

  
1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan. Slice the onion and pepper into fine strips and add to the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook at a low to medium heat until softened. 

2. Add in the tomatoes and stir through. Add the seasoning, sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to simmer for as long as possible.

3. Put the sausages on a foiled tray in the oven and bake at 180C for around 25 minutes or until brown and cooked through.

4. In the mean time, put the pasta in a large saucepan, salt and cook until ready. Cooking time will depend on the shape of pasta you choose. 

5. When the sausages are ready, carefully cut into chunks and add to he sauce. Taste, and add further seasoning if required. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta pot to loosen and emulsify the sauce. This really does make a difference! 

  
6. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce then mix through. I prefer to do it this way round to save getting two pots really messy, but make sure the pasta is well drained!

Buen Appetito!