I’ve been living in London for over ten years now and at this point, there are few things that I really miss, food-wise, from the US. In part because most are more readily available than they were when we first got here – good burgers, for one. I have been craving pasta with hot Italian sausage, which I’d make occasionally back in the US, but hot Italian sausage is not readily found in the UK. So, with the powers of the internet, I found a few recipes and adapted them to make my own. Fortunately, for this recipe, the starting point was to remove the sausage meat from the casing, so I didn’t actually make sausages, just seasoned the pork, then browned it, added onion, tinned plum tomatoes and some more herbs.
To me, this is the perfect comfort food and as it turned out, was just what I needed because as I was taking this photo (possibly before or after, it’s a bit of a blur), well let’s just say, tile floor: 1, red wine bottle: 0.
Fortunately, the bottle was already on the floor and just fell over, so while there was a big puddle of red wine and broken glass, splash damage was kept to a minimum.
So I cleaned it up and then ate the whole bowl of pasta. And a little more. And then I felt better. And that’s what’s so great about comfort food.
- 500g coarsely ground pork shoulder, not too lean
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed carraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon mild paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram)
- Dried pasta, 500g
- Parmesan cheese
- Put the pork in a bowl and add salt, fennel, red pepper flakes, paprika and garlic. Mix well to distribute the seasoning evenly throughout the meat.
- Cook seasoned pork with onions until pork is browned and onions are soft
- Add tomatoes (I break them up by hand first), red wine and dried herbs
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat
- Simmer until tomatoes have reduced and sauce has thickened to desired consistency
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions
- Add pasta to sauce, mix and serve with grated Parmesan cheese
It is pretty spicy, which is the way I like it, so you may want to adjust the seasoning to suit your own tastes.
I matched this with two Italian reds, Moncara Rosso Piceno 2012 (£5.99 at Waitrose) and Torre del Falco Nero di Troia, (£7.99 at Waitrose). I did manage to salvage a sip from the broken bottle (I do not recommend this, for the record!) and really enjoyed them both – enough weight and spice to compliment the spiciness of the pasta. I’m very tempted to go buy a replacement bottle of the Torre del Falco.