𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐞: 𝐒𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 & 𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐥 𝐠𝐧𝐨𝐜𝐜𝐡𝐢
I keep harping on about my favourite mid-week meals, but this one might be my GOAT. I prefer this to a typical bolognese ragu - the sausage meat works so well and the addition of fennel seed complements the sausage and adds a delicious warming touch to the dish. I LOVE fennel seeds so I tend to be quite heavy handed with them - I’ve reined it in a little with this recipe but feel free to add more if you wish.
For the sausage, I use pre-packaged sausage meat but you can use normal sausages - just squeeze them out of their skins and continue with the recipe. I’m using shop-bought gnocchi here because I want the dish to be quick and easy, but feel free to make your own. Alternatively, you can use pasta. I find mafalde pasta works best. You can get it in some supermarkets now - the long frilly ribbons catch the sauce in between the frills.
My top tip (if you’re not already doing this, do): always finish your sauce with a ladle-full of the cooking water form your gnocchi/pasta. The starchy water will give your sauce the best consistency and will stick to your carb of choice.
RECIPE: (serves 2 large portions or 3 smaller portions)
• 400g sausage meat
• 500g passata
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 large red onion, diced
• 1 courgette, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 500g gnocchi (the gnocchi in the fridge section is better than the stuff on the shelf, I find)
• olive oil
• salt & pepper
• Pecorino Romano, grated (or parmesan)
• a small handful of basil leaves (optional)
• Pea shoots (optional)
• In a large frying pan on a medium heat, add some olive oil and onions and sweat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
• Add your sausage meat to the pan and use the back of a fork to break apart the sausage meat until it is loose - it might clump to begin with but will loosen up as it cooks if you keep mashing. Add the fennel and courgette and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
• Add the passata, tomato purée, around 100ml of boiling water and salt and plenty of black pepper, then stir to combine. Turn down the heat to low and allow to simmer while you get your gnocchi on.
• Fill a large pan halfway with boiling water and add a good sprinkle of salt. Tip your gnocchi in and cook for a couple of minutes. You’ll know that they’re done when they start rising to the top.
• Using a large serving spoon, transfer your gnocchi to the sauce. Don’t worry about getting the starchy water in your sauce - this helps stick your sauce to the gnocchi. Give everything a good stir to combine. If your sauce needs loosening up, add a little more of the gnocchi water. Turn off the heat, then chop up a few basil leaves and add them to the pan.
• Serve with some grated pecorino and pea shoots.