A few weeks back, my mum drew attention to the fact that my dad loves to hoard dried pasta. He buys a pack when he sees it on special yet he never actually cooks pasta. The packs of pasta build up, mum thinks it's because dad knows I like cooking pasta so he buys it for me and well, the overarching result is that mum has needed to give me very occasional reminders about the pasta we have at home and the need for it to be used up. It's a good thing that dried pasta has a long-ish use by date (unlike fresh pasta which I've bought and wasted in the past after forgetting it was in the fridge) and well, it's been a good while since I've made myself a batch of pasta, and well, it's always handy to have bags of pasta at home when you get the sudden urge to cook up a batch!
This recipe has been adapted from 'Great Tastes Pasta' by Bay Books. Start by making the sauce and you'll need a good half hour for the sauce to cook reduce.
Split 6 Italian Pork & Fennel sausages open, remove and crumble the filling and discard the skins. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 1 small finely chopped onion for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and transparent.
Add 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 300g thinly slice mushrooms and crumbled sausage meat.
Cook over high heat, stirring gently to mash the sausage meat for 4-5 minutes or until the meat is evenly browned. Continue to cook, stirring once or twice for about 10 minutes.
Stir in 1 tbsp dried thyme and 800g tinned chopped tomatoes, then bring the sauce to the boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, cook 1 bag penne pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain well and return to the pan to keep warm.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
I'm not usually a big advocate of parmesan cheese but I think the parmesan really makes this dish. My brother had the pasta without the parmesan and found it a little bland and said I needed to add more salt. I usually like a lot of flavour in my pasta and really, I don't think it's the salt, it's definitely the parmesan which gives this pasta its flavour. Anyway, if you get round to making this recipe, let me know how you go!