“Rigatoni is a short pasta, rather like macaroni but with grooves on the sides, which help it cling on to the sauce. With a salad and a glass of red, this delicious and easy-to-make pasta dish has become one of my go-to Sunday dinners.”
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500g Italian-style coarse pork sausages, skins removed
1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
750 g silverbeet (swiss chard), stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 x 400g can of Italian tomatoes, crushed
500g dried rigatoni
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Finely grated parmesan, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, then add the sausages and cook, breaking up the meat into small chunks as you go, until it is a deep golden brown, around 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry gently for 1–2 minutes to soften, then add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute or so, taking care not to let them brown. Add the silverbeet (in batches if necessary) and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until it has collapsed.
Return the sausage meat to the pan, along with the tomatoes. Stir to combine, then let it simmer gently, covered, for 30–40 minutes – the water from the greens and the fat from the meat will emulsify into the sauce as it cooks.
When the sauce is about 15 minutes away from being ready, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until it is al dente. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta directly into the frying pan, leaving a little of the cooking water clinging to it. Stir the pasta and sauce over low heat for a minute or so to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then divide between four pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan.
Any short pasta works well here – the robustness of orecchiette is particularly pleasing with the sausage.
Everything I Love to Cook by Neil Perry (Published by Murdoch Books, RRP $59.99) is available now from great Victorian booksellers such as Books for Cooks, Hill of Content, The Paperback Bookshop and Readings, as well as online.