I think out Indian Summer may well be over. Today it has been a little more of the wet and wild we be expecting at this time of year. However, the weekend was a completely different story, clear blue skies and sunshine. Given we are nearing the end of Autumn we most certainly can't complain. There is something about bright sunshiny days that we appreciate so much more than during Summer when we have a daily expectation that every day should be just so. At this time of year each warm sunny day is both a lovely bonus and a welcome surprise to be savoured before we head in to the depths of Winter* Savour and enjoy it we did, outside basking in the afternoon rays, among the vines at Villa Maria enjoying some fantastic food, a lovely Pinot and great company.
*That may be a slight exaggeration and probably more accurate in the deep south rather than Auckland. How on earth I survived Scottish Winters in student flats with the central heating severely rationed I do not know.
That being said, the nights are cooler and perfect for a warming bowl of pasta in a rich tomato sauce, spiked with a little chilli and sweet fennel sausage. Even the cooler climes have their perks and a hearty pasta is most definitely one of them.
Fennel Sausage and Chard Spaghetti
2 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Pinch chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
2 fennel sausages, skin removed and broken in to small pieces*
Bunch chard, roughly chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes, or 1 jar Sabato cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Wholewheat spaghetti for 2
* I used Salumeria Fontana Sweet Fennel Sausages but it would also work with their Spicy Fennel Sausages or your won favourite sausage. The fennel does add a lovely aniseed note so if you can get some sort of fennel sausage I highly recommend it.
**Well spotted no Parmesan in the photos. A batch of poppy seed crackers, more on those at a later date, used almost all I had and then the very last morsel went on the bowl I had for dinner the previous night.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, rosemary, chilli and cumin. Sauté for a couple of minutes to all the garlic and spices to release their aromas and infuse the oil. Add the fennel sausages and sauté until they are browned. Add the chard and cook for 5 minutes until wilted. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover, turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until el dente, with just a little bite. I usually cook for a few minutes less than on any packet instructions.
Drain the pasta and and add it to the sauce. Stir to combine everything together, pile on plates and and grate some fresh Parmesan over the top.
This pasta is perfect for an dark and windy Autumn evening, savoury, rustic and heartwarming. The pasta delivering its welcome enveloping comfort all wrapped up in a rich sweet tomato sauce with just a hint of heat from the chilli flakes. The greens provide the requisite veg but the star of the show are those sweet fennel sausages, with just the right note of sweetness shining through. The only thing that can make this pasta better is a glass of something red!
If you like this you might like this What To Do With an Abundance of Greens
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