sausage, spinach and fennel with linguine

as for many people, january is a time of year when i think about healthy eating. often i use this month to detox, cutting out booze, caffeine and junk, however, this year i know that i haven’t got the willpower so i’m sticking to the simple aim of trying to boost my fruit and vegetable intake.

spinach is an absolute life-saver when it comes to this, as there are very few dishes which can’t cope with having a handful or two of spinach wilted in (unless, of course, you’re a member of the great spinach-hating clan who liken its cooked texture and flavour to wet socks!).

this dish ticks the hearty meaty meal box but has the added advantage of including several portions of vegetables which will ease any new year guilt that you might be feeling about what you are eating.

i’m sharing this dish with the ever-creative haalo of cook (almost) anything who is hosting this week’s presto pasta nights.

sausage, spinach and fennel with linguine (serves 2)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

3-4 good quality sausages, chopped into 1-2cm pieces

½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

100ml white wine

1 bulb of fennel, sliced

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

3 handfuls of baby spinach (or shred some normal spinach)

salt & pepper

linguine for two

cook your pasta.

heat the olive oil and gently fry the garlic. when you start to smell it, add the sausages, chilli flakes and fennel seeds. stirring regularly, cook until the sausage is cooked through – i like to turn the heat high when the sausage is almost ready so that it browns in places.

add the wine and fennel and allow it bubble for a minute or so. add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and the fennel is cooked through. put the spinach on top of the hot sauce, cover and remove from the heat. when the spinach has wilted stir it into the rest of the sauce and season to taste before serving with the linguine.