I almost called this post ‘funky sausage pasta’ but on reflection I thought it sounded a little daft and none of you would know what on Earth I was talking about. This is my version of a pasta recipe my mum started making for us when I was about 11 or 12 which uses the kind of smoked sausage you can eat straight from the packet. I remember being very impressed with it the first time mum made it as I don’t think we’d had smoked sausage before. The dish was quickly dubbed funky sausage pasta but neither me nor my brothers can remember if it was one of us or mum who came up with that name. The name stuck anyway and it was something we had on a fairly regular basis. As I got older and started helping a little bit in the kitchen I took great delight in sneaking pieces of frazzled sausage from the pan before they got mixed in with the sauce. I still do this now.
Most of the time when cooking this, mum would fry the smoked sausage in slices along with onion and peppers and then add a tin of tomatoes and serve it with pasta. When there was a bit more time available, everything would get mixed together in a dish, topped with grated cheddar, leaving a cheese free corner for my fussy middle brother, and then popped under the grill until golden and bubbling. The pasta for this dish has to be farfalle, purely because it was what mum used the first time she made it and it just works, especially when cooked as a pasta bake. The bow shaped pasta layers up nicely with the sausage and the veg and gives a flat surface at the top ready to accept a generous sprinkling of cheese.
I’ve made my own interpretation of this many times and as is often the case with a lot of the things I cook nowadays, I’ve found a way of getting extra vegetables into the dish. Whilst on a student budget, it was a good way of making meat stretch a little bit further. As I mentioned in the announcement post for the Extra Veg challenge which I’m hosting this month, my favourite way to incorporate extra veg into a meal is to add a couple of large handfuls of kale or spinach. For this smoked sausage pasta bake I’ve chosen kale, a vegetable that I never liked as a child but that grew to love once it became more popular a couple of years ago.
Cooking with plenty of veg is something that I will have to get used to over the coming months because I’m going to be surrounded by it very soon. I hinted at an announcement to my future plans last week after finishing my research contract and now I’m ready to reveal what’s happening. My boyfriend and I are moving to Dorset next month and to start with we will both be working with my parents in their greengrocers business that they bought last year when they moved back to the UK after 8 years in France. It’s a big change for both of us, he’s worked for the same company for 11 years and I’ve been in a university environment for nearly 10 years but we both feel like it’s time to do something different with our lives.
It probably sounds like a bit of an out of the blue decision and to be honest it pretty much is. If my parents hadn’t suggested it to us then I’m sure we would have found other jobs either here in the south east or closer to our families in the south west. It just happened to be good timing that they are in need of new staff and we had no ties here, my contract had ended, our rental property is easy to leave and my boyfriend only has to give a couple of weeks notice in his job. We got the notice period slightly wrong on our tenancy, I’d convinced myself it was 1 month when it was actually 2 months which is why we can’t move until September but this just gives us a bit more time to get organised. Our last move from Plymouth to Reading 3 years ago was a bit rushed and I don’t really want to repeat that.
We’re heading off to Dorset later this week for house hunting then I’m staying behind for a few weeks to get started in the shop, to help out with the summer holiday busy period. Being on my feet all day will be a bit of a shock to the system after having spent most of the past 5 years sitting down to work, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll also be within walking distance of the lovely harbour and beach at West Bay, paddling in the sea will be a good way to revive tired feet.
- 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 200g smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 large handfuls of sliced kale, tough stalks removed
- 300g farfalle pasta
- 60g vintage or extra mature cheddar, grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the sliced sausage and fry until lightly coloured on both sides then add the chopped peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes until the peppers start to soften slightly. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, stir well, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a fast simmer.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water following the packet instructions and preheat the grill.
- minutes before the pasta is ready, add the kale to the tomato and sausage sauce and stir well until the kale starts to wilt and continue to simmer until the pasta is ready.
- Drain the pasta then mix it in with the sauce and transfer to 1 large ovenproof dish or 4 individual dishes.
- Sprinkle over the cheese and grill for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly crispy on top.
- Serve with a lightly dressed green salad.
I’m sharing my smoked sausage pasta bake with a few challenges. First of all Extra Veg which I’m guest hosting for Michelle and Helen and Pasta Please run by Jac, hosted this month by Emily. I’m also joining in with Inheritance Recipes a new challenge run by Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla, the theme is easy to prepare and I think this fits the bill.