Sausage Splat!

Dinner last night!

Agent Triple P is notorious for his "sausage splat" as Agent DVD christened it many years ago. It is known as splat primarily because a good deal of the ingredients seem to end up on the floor, the walls and sometimes even the ceiling.

Unusually, we were home on our own last night and, as we were feeling rather ennervated after quite a lot of Champagne in the bar of a well known London hotel the night before, took the opportunity to make one of the more refined but satisfying versions of splat.

The recipe is adapted from one found in Antonio Carluccio's excellent book Antonio Carluccio's Passion for Pasta; one of the few cookery books we actually use recipes from. We remember being in Selfridges buying a suitcase for one of our trips and the great man himself was there signing copies of it. The book now has a new cover but we prefer the original showing how a good splat should be properly served!

Cook 100-150 grammes of penne pasta. Wholewheat in our case. Penne are best but fusilli would work well too. While the pasta is cooking make the sauce.

Finely chop an onion and a clove of garlic and put into a frying pan containing heated Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (although we admit that last night we used Maltese Oil: Gigantija from Gozo).

Then take the skins off a pound of sausages, break the sausagemeat up in the pan and gently fry with the onions and garlic until the ingredients are well mixed together and cooked through. We used Porky Whites excellent Surrey (the family-run firm originated in Ewell and are now based in Woking-both places within 10 miles of Agent Triple P's home) Pork Sausages which have a higher lean meat content and lower fat than most. In fact at about 16% fat they only have about 50-60% of the fat of normal sausages.

Add freshly ground black pepper and a a few sprigs of chopped,fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary would work but fresh really imparts the scent needed to balance all that pork.

Then pour in a small wine glass of Dry White Vermouth (Dry Martini in our case- we wonder what we can use all that spare Vermouth for?). The mixture should be moist but not wet. Carluccio's original recipe used white wine but we have found that the herb scented Vermouth combines pefectly with the fresh rosemary to give an unusual, scented dish.

There are two variations at this point:

You can mix the contents of the frying pan into the cooked drained pasta and serve as it is, for a dryer and more delicate dish (this works best if using fresh or normal white pasta-cooked al dente, of course).

Or you can do what we did last night and add a large tablesoon of mascarpone and a few tablespoons of tomato puree or passata. This gives a slightly wetter, pale orange sauce. Then mix with the pasta as before. The trick is not to have too much pasta but let the sausagemeat mixture dominate.

We had it with a good part of a magnum of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc (what a good concept!).
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