Sausages in England are very different from those found in Italy. Don’t get me wrong, a good English sausage from the butcher can be fantastic but they are just all together different from the various intense, rich and meaty sausages that can be found all over Italy. Here, sausages are slow roasted with lentils or peppers, crumbled over pizza, or as I like to eat them best, slow braised in a pasta sauce with red wine.
These glorious sausages are not widely available in England, do not be fooled by your local supermarkets ‘Italian style sausages’, they will just not do. You have to find a proper Italian Deli that has them imported or made in the correct way. My favourite place to source them in London is Gazzano’s in Farringdon, a well stocked and unpretentious Deli that has a variety of sausages with different flavourings and spices among an abundance of delicious produce. It is also very reasonably priced considering the quality. Another great place to buy this yummy style of sausage is Camisa and Son on Old Compton Street. Tasty, top quality sausages, but be prepared to pay for them.
So now you know where to get them, here is how to get the best out of them:
SAUSAGE PASTA -serves 4
I like to make this for dinner and cook it slowly over about 6 hours in the afternoon to get maximum flavour. But it tastes almost as good after just 2.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 6 Italian sausages
- 1/2 bottle red wine
- 1 can of plum tomatoes
- 1/2 a tube of tomato purée
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
- a few handfuls of fresh rocket and freshly grated parmesan to serve
In a large thick bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and sweat off the onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes on a low heat with a little salt to stop the mixture from browning. Next add the garlic and the chilli, continue to cook on a low heat.
Now remove the skin from 3 of the sausages and crumble the meat into the pan, chop the remaining 3 sausages into hearty chunks and add those too. Let the sausages sizzle into the onion mixture for a few minutes until it is just cooked.
Add most of the red wine and let the mixture reduce, allow the sausages and wine infuse into one another for about an hour on a low heat.
Add the can of plum tomatoes and a good dollop of tomato purée and continue to simmer for a further hour or so. I then continue to cook the sauce for a further 3-4 hours, adding a splash of wine and a bit more tomato purée when it gets too think. You should have a dark, rich and glossy sauce with chunks of mouth-wateringly tender sausage meat running through it.
Serve the sauce with a hearty ridged pasta that will hold the sauce, paccheri or rigatoni are perfect. Always add the aldente pasta to the sauce and heat them together for a few minutes to emulsify the sauce. Throw in some torn basil and top the pasta with a handful of rocket and some freshly grated parmesan. Yum.