March Recipe – Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Broccoli and Ricotta

This will give you a chance to use whatever your choice of sausages may be, but a spicy one would be best.  We have a good choice from our local butchers, who all make their own.  I would serve this with a side salad, and if you have some folk with hearty appetites, then garlic bread is also good.  As I say at the start of the recipe, it is easy to halve the ingredients.

I hope you enjoy it.

Serves 8 (can be halved)

1 tbsp. oil, 800g. sausage ( casings removed and meat broken into small chunks), 200g. bacon (cut into small pieces),  1 large onion, finely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 2 tsps. fennel seeds (bashed in a pestle and mortar), 1 tsp. chilli flakes, 300ml. red wine, 1 x 400g. tin chopped tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, pinch of sugar (optional), butter for greasing, 900g. ricotta, drained, 125g. cheddar grated, 400g. rigatoni, 400g. purple sprouting broccoli, 250g. mozzarella, drained and torn.

 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and brown the sausage meat and bacon in batches. Remove the meat and add the onion to the pan and fry until soft, then add the garlic, fennel seeds and chilli and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the wine, tip in the tomatoes and add the oregano and bay leaves. Put the meat back into the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to just under the boil.  Turn the heat down and cook over a very low heat for 45 minutes.
  3. Halfway through the cooking time remove the lid and leave it off so the cooking juices reduce. Preheat the oven to 180C / fan 170C / gas mark 4 and grease a 30 x 20cm. dish with butter.  Mix the ricotta with 100g. of the cheddar and season.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the rigatoni until it has softened but not gone all the way to al dente. Drain , reserving some of the cooking water and stir the pasta into the sausage ragu.  Add some of the cooking water if the mixture looks dry.
  5. Steam or microwave the broccoli until tender. Layer the components in the dish, starting with a layer of pasta, then ricotta, then half the mozzarella, then the broccoli.  Add another layer of pasta, the rest of the ricotta and mozzarella.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar on top and bake for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

January Recipes: Winter vegetable – Warm Salad and Soup

The warm salad is very good served with sausages which can be put in the oven before the vegetables. You can vary the vegetables depending on availability. I regularly roast squash and you could, of course, also use parsnips.

The soup too is pretty versatile as again you could vary the vegetables, parsnips and carrots would be good, or squash and carrots. Omit the cream if you like but it makes it richer. Continue reading “January Recipes: Winter vegetable – Warm Salad and Soup”

December Recipe: Stilton Cheesecake with Sticky Port Figs

This recipe is best served warm but to serve it cold make up to 2 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving. Do not use low fat cream cheese in this recipe, sometimes it just doesn’t work or taste the same. You could always use all oatcakes if you don’t want to use digestive biscuits. Continue reading “December Recipe: Stilton Cheesecake with Sticky Port Figs”

November Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagne

Although the recipe says to use fresh lasagne, this is quite hard to come by unless you make it yourself. However, you can use the dried lasagne but make sure you soak the sheets before hand – a few at a time – in boiling water to soften them. Another tip is that you do not need to use butter in your white sauce. You can easily buy something called sauce flour which you just add to your milk and keep whisking. No fat is involved in the process and it works well, I use it all the time. Lasagne freezes really well. I serve mine with garlic bread and a side salad but that is obviously up to you.

Continue reading “November Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagne”

October Recipe: Pear and Cobnut/Hazelnut Cake

This really is an easy cake. To roast the nuts use a dry frying pan but watch them very carefully as they take no time at all to burn! I always line all my cake tins with baking parchment, even if they are non stick, it just makes life that much easier. I think I have said before but cakes are much more successful when all the ingredients are room temperature, so do not use butter etc. straight out of the fridge.

Continue reading “October Recipe: Pear and Cobnut/Hazelnut Cake”