I regularly joke with a friend of mine who lives in England that there’s little differentiating between his summer and my winter. And it’s true, with fine days that top around 18*, cold nights and occasional rain, we are about on par. When he announced he was coming to visit in August, my immediate response was “wait, no, it will be cold and wet and miserable… Wait, no, never mind. You’ll be fine. Pack shorts.’
When True Winter kicks in, I get a little carried away. The ends of my track pants are tucked into ugg boots or my ridiculous Peter Alexander bed socks and the biggest hoodie I own comes on. If it’s a weekend, well, if you’re going to attempt to pry me away from the nest I’ve built on the couch in front of a season of Bones… You better have a pretty sweet trade-off.
When the cold kicks in, I hit up the comfort food pretty hard.
Sausages are already perfectly flavoured for quick and easy meatballs. Pasta, tomatoes, and a sweet but acidic sauce are a perfect mid-week winter meal.
Sausage & Capsicum Ragu Mafaldine
From MasterChef Magazine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
400g red capsicums, seeded, cut into strips
400g yellow capsicums, seeded, cut into strips
400g can cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 thick pork & fennel sausages
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
500g pappardelle pasta
35g walnuts, roughly chopped
Grated pecorino, to serve
1) In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Soften the onion, chili flakes and garlic. Add the capsicum and cook for 8 minutes to soften.
2) Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and currents. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, and reduce the heat. Cook for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce and cook the capsicum.
3) Remove the sausage meat from their casings and roll into meatballs, roughly 16 of them. Add them to the sauce and combine gently. Cover the pan with foil and cook for a further 5 minutes or the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from heat and add the red wine vinegar, stirring.
4) Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, and add to the ragu. Toss to coat the pasta with sauce and serve with pecorino.