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Gino's Italian Escape

Pasta shells with Italian Sausage & Tomato Ragu

“This is what Sardinian food is all about – simple ingredients with a spectacular result”
– Gino D’Acampo

Simple, inexpensive ingredients but bursting with flavour.

I strongly recommend you use Italian sausages for this recipe, available from Italian delicatessens and most supermarkets – they are slightly coarser and more highly seasoned than most British sausages (sometimes including fennel, garlic and wine) – but any pure pork sausages would be fine provided you season the dish well.

You can make your own pasta shells (find the recipe for this in the series book) or look for them in Italian speciality stores or online (they may be called ‘malloreddus’). Alternatively, any other short pasta will do the job.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

– 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 celery stick, finely chopped
– 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
– 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
– 400g coarse, Italian-style pork sausages, skin removed
– 2 tablespoons tomato purée
– 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
– 500g home-made Sardinian pasta shells
– 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded
– 80g freshly grated pecorino sardo
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the celery, fry for 1 minute, then add the onion, carrot and rosemary and season with salt. Fry for 7–8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sausage meat, break it up with a wooden spoon and fry for 5–8 minutes or until browned.

Add the tomato purée and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour in 250ml water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta shells in a large pan of boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes or until they float to the surface. Drain thoroughly.

Tip the pasta shells into the sauce, add the basil leaves and stir for 30 seconds to combine. Sprinkle over the pecorino and mix once again.

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