Alberto was getting home from Spain on Sunday evening after two weeks away and the season finale of Sherlock was on after two weeks of excitement. So I wanted something that I could prepare earlier and then cook quickly in the evening when I got hungry and that Alberto could easily heat up when he got in. I spotted this recipe in the new cookbook that I got for Christmas. It looked tasty and the idea of combining chestnuts in with the creamy pasta seemed appealingly unusual.
The recipe as listed serves 4 so I scaled it back slightly for 2. There was still enough left over for Alberto to have a smallish portion for lunch on Monday.
500g of fusili pasta
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g of good quality pork sausages
200g of cooked chestnuts (I bought cooked, vacuum sealed chestnuts from Sainsbury’s and they worked fine)
300ml of chicken stock
250g of mascarpone
A small bunch of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
A good squeeze of lemon juice
25g of freshly grated Parmesan or Gran Padano
Salt and pepper (Ah, push it!)
Fill a saucepan full of water and bring to the boil. Cook the pasta for slightly less time than it says on the packet so it’s nicely al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oven to 180.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly coloued. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Split open the sausages and squeeze the sausage meat into the pan. Break up the sausage meat gently with the back of a wooden spoon and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Add the chestnuts, stock, mascarpone and season with salt and pepper. (The recipe doesn’t say anything about breaking up the chestnuts. I broke them in half but I think that, the next time I cook this, I’ll break them into quarters. They taste lovely and go really well with the pasta sauce but they’re very dense and have quite a dry texture – cut in half they’re a bit too big if you get a mouthful of one.)
Bubble for a couple of minutes and then stir in the parsley and lemon juice.
Return the cooked pasta to the saucepan and pour over the sausage mixture. Stir gently until well mixed.
Spoon into an oven proof dish, sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, season and bake in the pre-heated oven until bubbling and golden.
Delicious. Creamy, tasty and filling. The folds on the fusili pasta really soak up the sauce too. Definitely one to cook again!