Festoni with Sausage, Mozzarella and Tomato

Watch this space, I wrote last week. Well, I have to tell you we have now found our new manager for Norwich City, and what’s more it was by the unanimous vote of the whole Board. I was dreading endless discussions following on the endless interviews, but our new manager was so outstanding there was never any doubt in anyone’s mind. On the ball, City! Needless to say all the toing and froing to London and Norwich hasn’t left much time to enjoy the kitchen garden – except for the autumn raspberries which have really thrived in the Indian summer and are glorious – and thankfully have alleviated the need to make puddings this week.Inevitably all our cooking has been of the time-saving, how-to-cheat variety of which my recipe this week is a prime example. For the first time I used Festoni, which are squares of pasta with crinkly edges and are ideal for the layering needed in this recipe (they are available at Waitrose by the way). Instead of ordinary chipolatas I used Pinney’s smoked chipolatas, which can be bought by mail-order and are well worth the effort, I promise.

Serves 4

Festoni with Sausage, Mozzarella and Tomato
 8 oz (225g) Festoni pasta
 6 oz (175g) smoked chipolata sausages
 1 fresh mozzarella (150g), cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes
 1 x 350g jar Sacla Tomato and Basil sauce
 1 heaped tablespoon torn basil leaves
 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
 Olive oil
 Salt and freshly-milled black pepper

You will also need a baking dish measuring 7 inches (18 cm) by 9 inches (23 cm) at the base and 1¾ inches (4.5 cm} deep, or similar.


Start off by putting the pasta in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of salted boiling water. Place it on the heat and cook for exactly 10 minutes. While that’s happening, put the sausages on a baking sheet under a pre-heated grill and cook for 5-7 minutes till they have browned a little. After that slice them into ½ inch rounds, and start to pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C.

Next drain the pasta and when it is cool enough to handle, arrange one layer of it in the bottom of the baking dish (loosely – don’t worry about any gaps). Then scatter half the mozzarella, half the sausage and half the basil leaves over the top, along with a seasoning of salt and pepper. Now spread half the tomato and basil sauce over these. Arrange another layer of pasta over than, then scatter in the rest of the mozzarella, sausage and basil. Season again and spread the rest of the sauce over, then arrange the final layer of pasta on the top and drizzle about a dessertspoon of olive oil over it all. Finally scatter the grated parmesan over the surface and place the dish in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. This is nice served with a well-dressed salad.

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