Salsicce di maiale (those Italian pork sausages, made with good quality ground pork) help make great pasta sauces. Some butchers also add fennel seeds and /or chillies to Italian pork sauces, these are also good to use
When eating in Italy you will find (have found) that sauces do not ‘drown’ the taste of the pasta (Italians like to taste the pasta) and it is always al dente,, cooked so that it is still firm when bitten.
I always buy cheese in one piece and like to grate my own – an inferior tasting cheese can spoil a pasta. In the photo the grating cheese I have used is ricotta salata (salted, hard ricotta used for grating and popular in Sicily).
I am a bit of a purist.
For 4 people
4 Italian pork sausages, remove casings and cut into bite size pieces
400g dried rigatoni, penne, or fusilli pasta (those shapes that have twirls or cavities so that the sauce can be trapped inside)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300g broccoli, cut into florets
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
chilli pepper flakes or fresh chillies to taste, I used ½ teaspoon full
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
½ cup of white wine
anchovies to taste – I used 5 chopped finely
grating cheese to serve
Add the olive oil to a large frypan and over medium sauté the cut sausages until they begin to colour. Remove from the pan and set aside. The sausage meat will remain in compact shapes unless you break it up with a spoon as it cooks – the choice is yours.
Add broccoli, garlic and chilli to the same pan and sauté the contents for about 5 minutes. If you prefer your broccoli more cooked, add a splash of water or wine, cover and cook till the broccoli is cooked to your liking.
Increase heat, add the sausage meat, wine and anchovies and reduce the liquid – this should take about 5 minutes.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water.
Drain and mix with the sauce. (Return the pasta to the saucepan that it has been cooked in and add the sauce). Mix well and serve with grated pecorino cheese (more authentic for Southern Italian food) or parmesan ( in Northern Italian cooking).