Sausages. Jeez I miss them. With the whole free-range thing it has honestly been one of the toughest things to give up. So you can imagine how stoked I was to stumble across Open Veld organic and free-range sausages recently. Created by Ian Bergh (trained chef), they are not made from sinewy off-cuts (like most sausages in this country) but rather good quality meat, sourced from ethical suppliers. This means they add no preservatives and cereals or bread in order to bulk them up. They also use less fat, which is an added bonus. (Look, they need to use some fat to add flavour - and help as a binding agent - but they are definitely healthier than most.) There are a couple of flavours but the one I keep coming back to is the pork, garlic and white wine variety. It's fantastic. My favourite way to cook them is to cut them open, take out the meat and use it in a pasta. Here's what I mean:
Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
- 500g organic, whole wheat pasta of your choice (I prefer a short pasta with a chunky sauce like this, so go for something like penne, farfalle or fusilli)
- A punnet of Open Veld pork sausage
- 2 chillies, finely chopped
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- A handful of basil, torn
- Half a tin of tomatoes
- Three handfuls of rosa tomatoes
Okay, what to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place your rosa tomatoes in a baking dish, pour over some olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, or until blistered. Remove and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan and fry your onion until it softens. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for about 2 minutes more, making sure not to burn the garlic.
3. Cut the sausage casing and remove meat. Add to the pan and fry until golden.
4. Add the roasted tomatoes and the tinned tomatoes, reduce heat and gently simmer sauce until reduced to the desired consistency.
5. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Drain, reserving a little bit of the cooking water.
6. Add pasta sauce to pasta, along with cooking water. Throw in the chopped parsley and stir to combine.
7. To serve, spoon into bowls and garnish with the basil. Shave over some pecorino cheese, if you really feel like a treat (and let's be honest...this dish deserves it.)
The great thing about this is the seasoning that is built into the sausages. It adds heaps of flavour for you so just keep that in mind and taste as you go.
P.S. Look for Open Veld sausages at The Neighbourgoods market, The Foodbarn Deli (Noordhoek) and Melissa's.