I have spent a great deal of my life in Italy, in various places! The thing that stands out about it- surprisingly- is the food! The sailing was fun, swimming into caves was fun, bathing in volcano was memorable. Architecture- beautiful. Hanging out with friends drinking campari e arancia and speaking in Italian at sunset- double fun! (Especially if Georgio Armani was at the next table! But Italians, as I am sure that you know, take great pride and care of the rituals of cooking and eating. I remember being in intense heat, on the island of Pantelleria, just wanting to get out to the ocean and throw myself in (there are no beaches there so you really do just throw yourself off the rocks into the water). But I couldn’t, because we had to have lunch first! Now lunch there is not a quick salad. It is the major meal of the day, with several courses! By the end of the pasta course, I was done! Every day!!! @Why you don’t eat the main course?’ they would ask, while I was virtually hanging off the chair hot and stuffed!
For me, I like to enjoy a good bowl of pasta, which is probably not the best way to eat, I just eat the main course on a different day!
This pasta dish has the wonderful Italian flavours that have me tucking until it’s too late to think of anymore courses! I love fennel and if you use the Italian sausages that contain fennel, the flavour is awesome! Just the aroma of it cooking is enough to make you hungry.
WINE NOTE: With the fennel flavours and the cream, Verdicchio is a good pairing for this! The reason that I like this particular wine, is that you can get some nice floral, herbal wines with a mineral finish, which feel like a walk through a herb garden! Look for these varieties and you will have a fine fennel match!
Now for the food ;
Tagliatelle with Italian Sausage and Leeks
14oz/ 400g Italian sausage
1 1/4oz/ 50g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek halved and finely sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
7oz/ 200g chestnut mushrooms finely sliced
Salt & pepper
3 1/2 fluid oz/ 100 ml dry white wine
7 fluid oz/200 ml double cream
1lb 2oz/ 500g tagliatelle
3 tbsp fresh flat parsley chopped
- Remove the meat from the sausages.
- Over medium heat, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet and fry the sausage and leek for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and crumbly.
- Add the thyme and mushrooms and seasoning and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the cream and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the wine and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in the cream and mix together and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat. Take off the heat and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. (1 minute less than stated on the pack)
- Drain the pasta and return to the pan, setting the pan back on medium heat and pour in the cream sauce and parsley.
- Mix everything together for half a minute to combine
- Check seasoning and serve.