Monday, 14 September 2009

Weeknight pasta to fill a hole

Weeknight food really needs to be quick to prepare and satisfying to eat. Particularly with the advance of the chilly season now upon us, I need after-work suppers that will calm and console me, and that can be flexible enough to serve to friends at the table followed by a nice pudding, or guzzled unceremoniously from a bowl in front of the box.

This pasta supper was made in honour of Dr K's passion for garlic. Faint-hearted? Do not attempt!

Ingredients (to feed 2):

  • 3 good quality butcher's sausages (I used beef, but pork or lamb would also be fine)

  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated and peeled

  • Good pinch (or to taste) dried chili, crumbled or flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 glass medium white wine

  • Good splash double cream

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup (lightly packed) chopped flat leaf parsley

  • Penne or other short pasta to serve (about 80g per person)


  • Gently heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan with a lid (or use tin foil to cover). Don't let the oil get too hot.

  • Add the whole garlic cloves, stir briefly and cover the pan.

  • Cook the garlic very gently for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking the heat level. You want soft, sweet cloves without any singeing that might cause bitterness. A little colour is fine though.

  • Whilst the garlic is cooking, put the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat and gently toast them - stop when you can smell warm nuttyness, and their cheeks are turning golden. Remove from the heat to prevent them cooking further.

  • Put on the water for your pasta.

  • Once the garlic is soft, turn up the heat in the pan and add the sausages, skin removed and meat crumbled up, like tiny broken meatballs.

  • Brown the meat, and sprinkle in the chili and thyme.

  • While this is cooking, add your pasta to the boiling water.

  • After a couple of minutes, when the meat is browned and you can smell the herbs, pour in the white wine and let it bubble away for a few minutes, scraping any lovely crispy bits of sausage off the pan with your wooden spoon, until reduced by about half.

  • Stir in some double cream to make a calming pale sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Do not let the cream boil.

  • Once the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the pan of creamy sausage sauce. Stir together well, taste again, and then sprinkle over the pine nuts and parsley. Dive in!


  1. Welcome to the world of blogging Francesca:) Two delicious delectable beginnings! Big helping of garlic is good to help keep the winter colds away too;)

  2. Hi Coby - thanks so much! I just added your blog to my links, I love your writing and recipes :-)