My eldest daughter (17) suggested the other day that she should make dinner one night each week (a very good idea I think, especially as she is not as interested in cooking as my younger daughter (12)) I said that I had suggested this before but she had never taken up the suggestion. Her reply was that I should force her to do it! Oh, well, enough said - I will definitely be forcing her. She decided on Thursday evening as her night for cooking and I was happy to oblige. So on Wednesday evening I asked her what she was going to make so that I could ensure we had all the ingredients - "haven't decided yet" was the reply. I think I asked her twice more, then again on Thursday morning on the way to school, then texted her again at school and finally received a reply that she would cook Friday night instead. Okay. I'm not going to let this drop. I am going to "force" her. Friday came and she was undecided still. Finally, during the morning I received her text "I know what I am going to make" - too late though - I had forgotten that we (my husband and I) were going out for dinner Friday night, so we opted for Saturday dinner instead. But that was no good either, my daughter was going out on Saturday night with her friends and would be eating out! Hmm. This is going on and on. Okay, I said, make it on Sunday instead. Not a good idea either, she was staying at her friend's house Saturday night and would be home in the afternoon, then she had an essay to write. So, finally, she is making dinner tonight.
However, this meant I had to think of something else for Sunday dinner, too late to take a joint out of the freezer and I had planned to help my younger daughter with her homework on Sunday so I didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen cooking dinner. So a quick look through the Books for Cooks Favourite Recipes Books 1,2 & 3 turned up "Penne with Spicy Sausage Sauce". So easy and so tasty. This recipe was taken from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers' "The River Cafe Cookbook" and serves 4.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
4 best fresh Italian pork sausages, skinned and crumbled (I used six as there were 6 in the packet)
2 garlic cloves - crushed
4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 fresh (or 1 dry) bay leaves (I used dry because my fresh ones are very small)
1 tsp fennel seeds (I ground these with the pestle and mortar)
1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes
400g (14 oz) tin of Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
salt, black pepper, grated nutmeg
500g (1lb) penne rigate
150ml (5 fl oz / 2/3 cup) double cream
125g (4 oz) Parmesan, grated
I heated the oil in a large saucepan and cooked the onion until it was soft (about 5 minutes) then stirred in the crumbled sausage, garlic, rosemary, bay, fennel and chilli. This I then fried quite quickly and stirred it continuously to break up the sausage meat.
I turned down the heat and left it to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirred in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and a good sprinkling of nutmeg. Again, left it to simmer while I boiled the water for the penne which I then cooked as per the packet instructions. I then stirred the cream into the sausage mixture together with half of the parmesan.
I drained the pasta and and added the sausage mixture - stirring to coat all the pasta in the sausage sauce. Served immediately with the rest of the parmesan. So good.
So, I'm looking forward to my dinner this evening, elder daughter is cooking (no excuses), I have all the ingredients ready for her to make Turkish Borek with two different fillings - one with spinach and feta and the other with minced beef. I hope to bring the recipe, with photographs, to this blog - tomorrow. Here's hoping.