I think most people now eat Italian food of some sort on a regular basis, or at the very least once in a while. Pasta has become a staple store cupboard ingredient for everybody with children (well maybe not everybody), and pizza is definitely another favourite.
I'm sure it wont be a surprise that a lot of our first meals here include spaghetti. Inspired by the penne alla senese recipe (penne with sausage, walntus and cream) from Twelve by Tessa Kiros and the Linguine alla carbonara di salsiccia recipe (sausage carbonara) by Jamie Oliver from Jamie's Italy, we made the following.
Creamy Sausage Meatball Pasta
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2lb or 250g good sausagemeat
a large handful of cubed pancetta
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A glug of brandy (about an egg cup size amount)
1 carton of double cream (which equates to roughly just over 1 US size cup)
This is the method we used.
With wet hands make small meatballs (the size of large grapes).
Gently fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes until they start to colour.
Add the sausage meatballs and pancetta, fry for approximately 10 minutes. Shaking the pan regularly, and turning the meatballs if necessary to make sure they colour all over.
Turn the heat up as high as possible, wait for about 20 seconds and then add the brandy.
Cook for 1 minute and then add the cream. Cook for a couple of minutes and then serve over pasta of your choice. We chose spaghetti.
I'd bought about 500g / 1lb of sausagemeat so with the rest I made more meatballs and did one of Little and Small's favourites. It's quick and so easy! Spaghetti with Meatballs and Passata. Make the meatballs in the same way as above, fry with a little onion and garlic. Throw some passata into the pan, heat through and serve with spaghetti.
Note: For recipes that require sausages all of these books suggest Italian sausages. I've never seen an Italian Sausage for sale in England - ever! Jamie Oliver does at least suggest good Cumberland Sausages if you can't get hold of Italian Sausages. I used decent sausagemeat from our local butcher.
I also made Stracotto di manzo (beef braised in red wine) from Twelve by Tessa Kiros. Which requires slow cooking beef and carrots in red wine and tomato puree for hours. The only thing I did differently was used chunks of braising steak instead of using a whole piece of meat and I didn't puree the carrots. It was delicious and loved by all. I just stopped for a break and had the leftovers for my lunch.
Also for those in the UK, have you seen the website mysupermarket.com ? It's a website that has the details for all the major online shopping supermarkets. It compares the prices and tells you who will give you the best value for what you want. All you do is register, fill your trolley/select the products you want. It then checks and compares. You then send the trolley to the supermarket of your choice. Couldn't be simpler. They've also got a health checker which gives the nutritional information of most foods and suggest healthier swaps. Worth checking out if you'd like to save a few pennies or get healthier meal suggestions. They even have their own blog. My hubby used mysupermarket sometime last year and told me I should use it. Until recently I'd put it to the back of my mind but then I used it and it really is easy!
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!