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Sausage and macaroni casserole

Ingredients

  • 400 g good–quality pork sausages
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bulb of fennel, quartered lengthwise and sliced across
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 350 g small button mushrooms
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) tomato paste
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 600 ml chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1⅔ cups (255 g) macaroni
  • 250 g silverbeet, finely shredded
  • 1 cup (80 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the sausages in a flameproof casserole dish over a moderate heat and cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Turn the sausages frequently so that they brown evenly.
  4. Remove the sausages from the pan and set them aside on a plate.
  5. Discard excess fat from the pan.
  6. Add the oil, fennel seeds and bay leaves to the pan.
  7. Heat until the oil is hot and the seeds are beginning to sizzle, then add the garlic, onion, rosemary and oregano.
  8. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is slightly softened.
  9. Stir in the sliced fennel, eggplant and mushrooms.
  10. Add the tomato paste, wine and stock.
  11. Stir to mix the tomato paste into the liquid, then bring to the boil.
  12. Remove from the heat.
  13. Slice the sausages and stir them into the casserole.
  14. Cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  15. Stir in the macaroni and cover the casserole again, then return it to the oven.
  16. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
  17. The pasta will not be completely tender at this stage.
  18. Remove from the oven.
  19. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.
  20. Gradually stir the silverbeet into the casserole, adding more as the first handfuls wilt.
  21. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
  22. Put back into the oven, uncovered, and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden.
  23. Underneath, the pasta and vegetables should be tender.
  24. Serve at once, directly from the casserole dish.

Serves 4
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: about 1½ hours

Source: Soups & Casseroles
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