Tonight felt like a triumph because I cooked one of Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals in exactly 30 minutes, but of course that wouldn’t be telling the complete truth because I didn’t make the frangipane tarts for dessert. And who knows how long they would have taken to prepare and bake. But at least we didn’t eat quite as late as usual.
This pasta dish is kind of a quick version of a ragu. It all basically went into the food processor and came out all mushed up and then went into a frying pan with a few other ingredients. Very easy.
For the pasta
• 4 spring onions
• 1 carrot
• 1 stick of celery
• 1-2 fresh red chillies
• 1 x 6-pack of good-quality sausages (approx. 400g)
• 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 500g dried penne
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
• A few sprigs of Greek basil, or regular basil
For the salad
• 2 red chicory
• 1 x 100g mixed bag of prewashed rocket and watercress
• Parmesan cheese, for shaving over
• 1 lemon
For the seasonings
• Olive oil
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Sea salt & black pepper
To start: Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Fill and boil the kettle. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Put the standard blade attachment into the food processor.
Pasta: Trim the spring onions, carrot and celery. Roughly chop all the vegetables, then blitz in the food processor with the chillies (stalks removed). Add the sausages, 1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Keep pulsing until well mixed, then spoon this mixture into the hot frying pan with a lug of olive oil, breaking it up and stirring as you go. Keep checking on it and stirring while you get on with other jobs. Put a large deep saucepan on a low heat and fill with boiled water. Fill and reboil the kettle. Top up the saucepan with more boiled water if needed. Season well then add the penne and cook according to packet instructions, with the lid askew.
Salad: Trim off the bases of the chicory, then click apart all the leaves and quarter the heart. Scatter over a platter, then sprinkle the rocket and watercress on top and toss quickly with your hands.
Pasta: Crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the sausage mixture and stir in 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the tinned tomatoes. Add a little of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to loosen if needed.
Salad: Speed-peel or shave some of the Parmesan over the chicory salad and take it to the table with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon wedges for dressing right before eating.
Pasta: Drain the pasta, reserving about a wineglass worth of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir, adding enough of the cooking water to bring it to a silky consistency. Taste, correct the seasoning, then tip into a large serving bowl and take straight to the table with the rest of the Parmesan for grating over. Scatter over a few basil leaves.