Monday, April 02, 2007

Rigatoni, spicy sausage meat and mixed wild mushrooms

I made this the day before we left for Argentina, my new year, new recipe dish for week 9 - a true winner. I'm always a little stressed out before I go away for a while, no matter how much I'm looking forward to it, the thought of having forgotten something important at work, all the other stuff to be done before leaving - flowers, bills, mailbox, newspaper subscriptions - the frantic and as ever fruitless pursuit of a emergency exit seat through the airline's online booking system - so in my decidedly nervous state cooking, and especially cooking (and then eating) pasta provided great comfort and helped me relax. The rigatoni (instead of the pappardelle suggested in the recipe) with sausage and mixed wild mushrooms from Jamie Oliver's The Return of the Naked Chef is keeper in our house, that's for sure. Nothing fancy but with a rather rustic yet chic flair to it and ever so good, the sausage and the mushrooms going brilliantly together. Quick to make, too, it'd be perfect for guests when time is short, even on days when your supermarket (if it is any like mine) decides not to stock the lovely selection of wild mushrooms in a little cardboard box it always stocks otherwise. Don't throw a tantrum ("... but I WANT those mushrooms...!!") - relax, it'll be ok.

Pappardelle, spicy sausage eat and mixed wild mushrooms
(serves 4)

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 255g of the best spicy sausage you can find, meat removed from skin
  • olive oil
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh thyme, leaves picked (I used dried, forgive me, Jamie)
  • 1-2 small dried red chilies, crumbled, to taste
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms, torn
  • 320 dried pasta
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 good knobs of butter *
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful of grated parmesan
Fry the onion, garlic and sausage meat in a little olive oil until lightly golden (I rolled the sausage meat into little balls - purely for therapeutic reasons, of course). Add the thyme, chilies and mushrooms. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve a little cooking water. Remove the mushrooms from the heat, season to taste and loosen with 3 knobs of butter and a little cooking water from the pasta. Toss the drained pasta with the mushrooms and serve sprinkled with lots of parsley and some grated parmesan.

* I confess that I cannot bring myself to use so much butter in my cooking, especially not when I just packed a bikini.

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