last october an obsession with sausages roasted with cherry tomatoes, fennel and balsamic was born. scented with rosemary and thyme, the combination of roasted tomatoes, the delicately flavoured fennel (this is a good way to eat fennel if you’re nervous of its aniseed flavour) and balsamic, come together in a rich sauce which contrasts fabulously with the meaty sausage. and best of all, there is plenty of sauce for mopping up with warm bread, slathered with butter. this was the perfect comfort food for a wet, chilly evening.
however, i have a new favourite way of cooking sausages, which is better suited to the warm summer weather which keeps attempting to make an appearance. having said that, it’s equally delicious and worth trying if the long-standing drizzle remains.
the winning combination of sausage and tomatoes remains but is lightened with the addition of tenderstem broccoli. this dish worked really well with orecchiette, whose texture contrasts well with the sausage and which holds little puddles of sauce in its hollows
sausage, roasted tomato and broccoli orecchiette (serves 2)
8-12 ripe tomatoes
small bunch of tenderstem broccoli, trimmed into bite size pieces (you can use ordinary broccoli)
orecchiette for two
2-4 good quality sausages (c150-200g), cut into 1-2cm pieces
1 red pepper, cut into 2cm pieces
1 clove garlic, sliced
juice of ½ a lemon
handful of torn basil
heat the oven to 150c.
quarter your tomatoes, toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and place, skin side down, on a baking sheet. roast for 1 ½ - 2 hours until they are soft and have lost much of their moisture. if you want to make a quicker version of this dish, instead use halved cherry tomatoes which do not need roasting, just add them at the end , with the cooked broccoli.
blanch the broccoli until it is just cooked. rinse in cold water and set aside. put your pasta on to cook.
in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the sausage pieces and red pepper. cover and cook until the pepper is soft and the sausage pieces cooked through, adding the garlic after a few minutes and stirring regularly – this will probably take about the same time it takes for your pasta to cook.
when the pasta is ready add it, with the roasted tomatoes and broccoli, to the sausage pan with the lemon juice and basil. mix well so the broccoli and tomatoes heat through. serve with parmesan shavings.