2 heaped teaspoons fennel seeds
2 dried red chillies, crumbled
4 higher-welfare coarse Italian or Cumberland sausages
4 handfuls wild garlic leaves, washed, or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, plus 4 handfuls of spinach leaves, washed
320 g fusilli
freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
Wild garlic can be found in meadows all over the country in April and it has a wonderful earthy flavour. Gennaro has even stumbled across some at a local park in the middle of London, so keep your eyes open.
You should be able to get hold of it at good green grocers or your local farmer's market, but, if not, you can sort of mimic the flavours by blitzing some fresh spinach and a couple of cloves of regular garlic together, so you get a wonderful green garlicky sauce.
Bash up the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar, then put to one side. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Cut open the sausage skins and squeeze the meat into the pan. Stir it around with a wooden spoon, breaking it up into small pieces so it resembles coarse mince. Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour and the fat has started to render out.
Add the bashed up fennel seeds and chillies to the meat, and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the meat is crisp, dark golden brown and caramelised. Turn the heat down to low.
Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil. If you managed to get hold of wild garlic leaves, simply blanch them in the boiling water for 3 minutes, then scoop out and put in a food processor. If you aren't using wild garlic, add the garlic cloves to the water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the spinach. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the spinach has wilted, then fish out all the spinach and the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon, and put it all into a food processor. Add the fusilli to the water, bring it back to the boil and cook according to the packet instructions.
Blitz the wild garlic leaves or the cooked garlic and spinach in the food processor, until you have a deep green sauce, then add a lug of olive oil, a grating of lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water. Put the pasta back in the saucepan and add a splash of the cooking water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently stir the lovely green sauce into the pasta to coat it then immediately divide the pasta between your bowls. Top with the delicious crisp sausage meat and a nice grating of Parmesan cheese, and serve.
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This garlicky pasta has a deep, earthy flavour – totally delicious with the Cumberland sausage
BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council