I'm cold. I need warming food. And I need it now (or within an hour...). I've made variations on sausage casserole loads of times before but finding a bundle of Cavolo Nero in the supermarket led me down the Italian route. Cavolo Nero is a black Italian cabbage, some would call it kale, call it what you want but it's a great addition to any stew or casserole as it's really robust and tasty. This quantity serves 4 hungry people easily, even more if you stretch it out with creamy mashed potatoes and some extra vegetables or pulses. If I had it to hand, I would have added a can of cannellini beans too. Yum.
Italian Sausage Stew
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
2 Onions, roughly chopped
2 Carrots, chopped into 1cm pieces
2 sticks Celery, chopped into 2 cm pieces
1 Courgette, chopped into 1cm pieces
6 Italian Sausages, skinned & cut into 4-5 pieces each
1 tbsp Smoked Garlic Puree (or 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
200ml Red Wine
1 carton Passata
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 Beef Stock Cube Gel
1 can Chickpeas
150g Cavolo Nero, washed, trimmed & chopped into 2-inch pieces
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onions for 6-7 minutes on a low heat until soft and translucent.
Add the carrots, celery & courgette and cook for 5 minutes. Toss the sausage, garlic and pancetta into the dish and stir until the sausage has started to colour. Now add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off all the alcohol - you want the flavour, not the harshness.
Time to add the passata, puree, stock and chickpeas, stir well and taste for seasoning. Adjust it if necessary - it should be salty enough so it might just need pepper.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, add the cavolo nero and give it a good stir. Simmer for a further 10 minutes and dinner is ready. You'll see some fresh tomatoes in my final photos. That's because I found a punnet of San Marzano tomatoes and I just couldn't resist!