Italian delis sell sausages that are perfect for this dish as they are made of pure pork and have no bread or rusk content. If you can’t find them, look for coarse-grained pork sausages that contain little or no wheat.
In winter, porcini mushrooms are a good substitute for broccoli. Giancarlo stirs a couple of tablespoons of cream into the finished sauce to bind it together, though this isn’t strictly necessary.
Note: Save some time and simmer the broccoli with the pasta for the last few minutes – one less pot to clean is always good.
Time: 20 minutes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
250g broccoli florets
400g Italian sausages
75ml white wine (4 tablespoons)
250g orechiette or short pasta, such as penne
25g parmesan or grana padano, finely grated
best quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons thin cream (optional)
1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water
Bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5–7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, black pepper and chilli and cook for a further couple of minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Only add salt later if necessary, as sausages are often salty. Meanwhile, steam or briefly boil the broccoli florets until just cooked.
Cut open the sausages and remove the meat. Crumble the sausage meat into the pan and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, then pour in the wine and allow it to reduce for a few minutes. Keep the sauce over a low heat while you cook the pasta.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and add the broccoli. Add the pasta and broccoli to the frying pan, along with a tablespoon of cooking water to lengthen the sauce. Stir through gently, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve in warmed bowls with a scattering of Parmesan or Grana Padano, a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of your best olive oil.
Co-owner of London’s Caldesi Restaurant and Caffé Caldesi, Katie Caldesi is also the principal of the cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi. Born in Montepulciano, Tuscany, Giancarlo Caldesi’s interest in food and cooking was inspired by his mother and grandmother, who he helped in the kitchen from an early age. Giancarlo and Katie went on to launch Caldesi Restaurant, a neighbourhood and destination restaurant serving simple Italian food in Marylebone Lane. You can purchase The Amalfi Coast at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant