He chopped a garlic, set a pot of water to boil on the stove, and poured a healthy amount of kosher salt into it. He threw the garlic in a pan of olive oil and let it sizzle for just a minute before taking it off the heat. The smell began to relax all of them and Gretchen and Jane settled themselves at his counter and watched him cook. He poured them both large glasses of red wine and watched as their bodies physically relaxed. He could see the tightness in Jane’s jaw go away and he smiled. It was hard to feel bad about the world when the air smelled like garlic, when pasta and cheese were being prepared, when you had a good glass of red.
Sautéed garlic could save the world.
~ Jennifer Close
I confess. I have a bit of a love affair going with Italian food. Lately, I’ve been devouring cookbooks like novels, and finding inspiration in cooking shows, social media posts, old magazines, and from my own notebooks of scrawled, made-up or borrowed recipes.
Our next-door-neighbours came over the other evening, for a quick drink and to give us their opinion on some fabric samples we’ve gathered so we can have our dining-room chairs reupholstered. We hadn’t invited them for dinner. They weren’t planning to stay for dinner, but we got talking and it got later, and suddenly food seemed like a good idea.
I threw this pasta together with a bit of kitchen assistance from my friend Jenny, who chopped, and stirred and kept me company while the boys talked about, well, whatever two blokes talk about over a few drinks.
I had some shop-bought garlic bread in the fridge, which I chucked in the oven, and then I made this quick dish based on a video I watched by a wonderful Italian chef, who has a great You-Tube channel. I had the ingredients already, but I winged it with the actual recipe. Apologies, Vincenzo, if I only remembered half of your recipe – but it was late, and I had been drinking wine, and I had to go on memory. No matter, it turned out FANTASTICO!!! If you love Italian food please go check out Vincenzo’s Plate. Vincenzo has such a heart-based channel, and he brings that wonderful Italian passion, fun and family to you with his delightful videos. I highly recommend it! (This recipe is based on Vincenzo’s Fettucine Boscaiola.)
I had this entire meal whipped up in less than twenty minutes, and it was delicious. It fed four of us handsomely, with enough leftovers for Ben and I to eat for lunch the next day.
I hope you enjoy it too!
Love, hugs, and the delight of friends to share your table, Nicole xx
- 500 grams pappardella pasta (or fettucine is fine but a flat broad noodle will hold the sauce well)
- 5 to 6 fresh Italian Style Sausages (about 500 grams) My sausages were a mix of pork, fennel and other spices
- Fresh mushrooms – about 3 cups, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- salt for the pasta water, and salt to season the meat (I used pink Murray River Salt flakes, because that’s what is in my kitchen)
- pepper, to season the meat
- olive oil,
- parsley – a big handful
- I also used some fresh spring onion and garlic chives because they were in my kitchen, fresh from my mum’s garden
- Pecorino cheese, grated – 3 tablespoons, plus extra for the table
- 3 heaped tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup of white wine (I used prosecco because that’s what we were drinking and to be honest I just slurped a bit in from the bottle, and confession time… I think I did this process twice because the wine cooked out so I chucked some more in)
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Then cook your pasta to the instructions. Mine took 11 minutes.
- While the water is heating place a large frypan on the stove and add a generous slug of olive oil to the pan. Bring it to a medium heat.
- Slit the sausage casings with a sharp knife and remove the filling, placing it in the hot frypan. Use a spoon to keep breaking the mince down into smaller pieces and fry well until browned.
- Chop your parsley (and any other herbs you may be using) finely and put aside
- Grate your pecorino cheese and put aside
- Add the crushed garlic and stir until fragrant – about 30m seconds to one minute.
- Chuck the sliced mushrooms in the pan with the sausage. then add the wine and cook well. Add half the parsley (And any other chopped herbs) to this mixture. This mixture takes about ten minutes to cook, so it should be ready just before your pasta. Season well with salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.
- Remove meat from heat when cooked, or leave on low heat.
- When the pasta is cooked reserve a cup full of the cooking water, and then drain your pasta. If your frypan is big enough add the pasta to the frypan, but if not (mine wasn’t!) add the pasta back into the saucepan and then dump the meat on top.
- Add the mascarpone and about half a cup of the pasta water, and stir through until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce and the meat and mushroom is mixed through. Adjust with a little extra pasta water if needed.
- Turn out onto a serving plate and add the grated pecorino and the rest of the fresh herbs.
- Eat with gusto!