My obsession with all things that include a bright green liquid continues. This meek little dish came out of nowhere and bowled me over with its tastiness.
The topping is extraordinarily easy. It’s just sausage meat broken down into a coarse mince and cooked with bashed-up fennel seeds and a little dried chilli. Sausage meat and fennel seed is a marriage made in heaven, and one that will be making more of an appearance in my kitchen, I think.
But it’s the green-coated pasta that’s the real magic. First, You set some pasta to cook. Meanwhile, in a different pan, blanch a few handfuls of spinach in boiling water along with 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Shove the spinach, garlic and a little of the cooking liquid into a blender and blitz. Add a splash of lemon juice, a slug of olive oil, season and blitz it again. You’ll get something like this:
Looks like something from Ghostbusters, right? Have faith.
You mix this liquid into the pasta, stirring well until every piece of pasta has a slick, glossy coating of the spinach and garlic mixture.
Then you simply arrange the pasta on plates (or just dump it on, if you’re anything like me), and settle (splodge) the sausage mixture on top. Quick, simple and gorgeous.
Here’s the recipe I followed, from a Jamie Oliver magazine cutting:
- 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
- 2 dried red chillies, crumbled (I didn’t have these. I used a little powder instead.)
- 4 good quality sausages.
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 handfuls of spinach
- 500g fusili (the spirally ones I used were delish! No idea what they’re called.)
- 1 lemon
- Serves 4 (Since my boyfriend and I are ultra greedy, the topping only stretched to 2. No apologies!)
1. Bash up the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestel and mortar, then put to one side. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
2. Cut open the sausages and cook the meat in the pan, using the spoon to break the meat down into coarse mince. Fry it for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour and the fat starts to render out.
3. Add the fennel and chillies and cook for about 10 mins until the meat is crisp, dark golden brown and caramelised. Turn the heat down low.
4. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil and chuck in the garlic. Let it blanch for 3 or 4 minutes,then add the spinach. Cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes until the spinach is wilted, then scoop it all out (leaving the water behind) and put it in a food processor.
5. Meanwhile, pop your chosen pasta into the water that gets left behind, and cook according to packet instructions.
6. Getting back to the spinach and garlic in the processor: blitz it all together, which gives you a dark green liquid. Add a slug of olive oil, a splash of the cooking water and a squeeze of lemon. Season.
7. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pan. Add the green sauce (this is the best bit!) and mix the sauce into the pasta.
8. Serve immediately with the sausage topping and some grated parmasan.