Tuscan Sausage Sauce on Sourdough with Brunello di Montalcino Poggione
Italians know about good food, not the refined, elaborate, cuisine of France designed to whet the whimsical desires of a boy king, but basic, rustic, unfussy fare. Stews, pot roasts, huge steaks and full bodied soups like minestrone served in modest terracotta bowls. Bread, pasta and beans form an integral, and vital, part of the Tuscan diet reflecting the peoples down-to-earth temperament and often washed down with the wonderfully expressive wines of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Tuscan food, in the city centre or the country villa, is essentially the food of the farm and the smallholding. Simple, delicious, hearty, and affordable.
This dish will make four adults happy at lunchtime or more at dinner as an antipasti. Serve with rocket drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a deft squeeze of lemon.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, halved and finely sliced
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons dried fennel seeds
8 Italian spiced pork sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled
1 glass of vermouth or dry white wine
150ml double cream
A grating of fresh nutmeg
2 handfuls of parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the shallots until golden brown. Add the chilli and fennel seeds. Turn up the heat and add the crumbled sausage meat, breaking it up vigorously with the back of a fork until mashed – leave no lumps! Lower the heat and continue to cook until the meat turns golden brown, stirring regularly to ensure the mixture stays loose. Turn the heat back up and add the glass of vermouth, stirring through until it has evaporated a little and thickened the sauce. Lower the heat and add the cream, a large handful of parmesan and a grating of nutmeg to taste. Check the seasoning. Simmer for a further ten minutes on a gentle heat. Meanwhile, lightly toast the sourdough and rub with garlic. Slice large pieces of sourdough into, say 3 for easier eating, and top with a generous dollop of sauce. Serve with lightly dressed rocket and some good Sangiovese.
This Italian inspired recipe has been entered into the #TuscanyNowCookOff at www.tuscanynow.com