Here is the latest in our ‘Seasonal Recipes’ series, a simple-but-amazing pasta dish that even the most ham-fisted of cooks can have a crack at. Do it!
Donal Hayes is owner and head chef at The Stolen Pizza, Kinsale, renowned in the town for its simple Italian food done well: homemade pasta and pizzas, fresh sauces, and lots of strong Italian flavours of garlic, basil, wild mushrooms, wine and olive oil, combined with local fish, meat and vegetables.
Penne Alla Luganica
Ingredients (serves 4)
400g Luganica sausage
1 large red onion
45ml olive oil
2-3 tbsp fresh very ﬁnely chopped rosemary
2-3 bay leaves
2g dried red chillies, ﬁnely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
400g fresh penne
100ml double cream
160g Parmigiano Reggiano
Put on a pot of water to boil. Remove the sausage casing and crumble the meat into a bowl. Finely chop the onions and brown them in a pan with hot olive oil. Add the meat, rosemary, bay leaves and chillies.
Cook for 5-10 minutes, then add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to the boil, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Check for taste and season with salt and pepper.
Boil the pasta until it’s al dente, then drain.
Stir the cream into the sauce and add half the grated cheese. Mix through the cooked pasta and serve with freshly ground black pepper and more grated cheese.
Luganica is usually from Lombardia, Trento or Veneto. It’s a fresh pork sausage which is sweet, long, thin and coiled. If your Italian deli/butcher doesn’t stock it, ask for a plain pork sausage without strong spices, rusk or bread content. Whatever you do, avoid the pink, pasty sausages from supermarkets. Not just in this recipe, but forever!
There’s no way we’d suggest anything other than Italian here, and Dievole’s Rinascimento Sangiovese blend would sing like Silvio Berlusconi alongside Donal’s Penne. Vibrant cherry fruit, peppery spice, crisp acidity and big, crunchy tannins – a match made in heaven!
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