Serves: 4 - Time:
This dish is so versatile: the ragoût could be stirred into some penne or served with jacket potatoes or on top of puy lentils. It may seem a bit pointless to boil the fennel bulbs before adding them to the ragoût but this ensures the fennel is meltingly tender. You can use your favourite sausages here. If I’ve been to the Italian deli I’ll buy some of their delicious sausages but a classic pork banger will do just as well. Don’t worry if you can’t find the Marks and Spencer Datterini tomatoes- use a tin of chopped tomatoes.
- 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and halved lengthways
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 500g sausages
- 1 x 270g jar Datterini tomatoes, drained (use the oil in cooking and dressings)
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 500ml chicken stock
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch chilli flakes (optional)
- Put the fennel in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and cool a little before roughly chopping. Put in a casserole dish and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the onion for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Add to the fennel.
- Remover the sausage skins and cut the sausagemeat into 2cm pieces. Using the same frying pan that you cooked the onions in add the sausage pieces and brown over a moderate heat for about 5-6 minutes, turning the pieces over to colour evenly. Tip into the casserole with the onions and fennel. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 40 minutes. Taste and season with a little salt and ground black pepper.