When I received a box of goodies from Fratelli Camisa including jars of roasted peppers, pasta, risotto rice and Luganiga (Luganega) sausage I not only felt very very happy but most inspired. The items were a gift from my Dad, partly to celebrate the near completion of our pantry and partly as an early Christmas present.
Knowing that the sausage was featured in Rick Stein’s latest television series and book of the same name, Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes how could I look anywhere else for my culinary inspiration. I felt it was only right that I focus on this book, I’m so glad I did – dinner, a sausage and bean stew, was a delight, with the exception of the polenta I served alongside it.
Although Luganiga is a traditional Northern Italian pure pork sausage I gave it a bit of a twist, adapting Rick’s recipe Wild Sausage Ragu which is typical of Sardinia. The ragu was a good choice as the sausages main flavours of fennel and garlic were replicated and soothed with the sauce, while the hint of chili really lifted everything and made the flavours explode on the tongue. I added cannellini beans to give another dimension of texture and taste, it was a good decision especially as the polenta was such a disaster.
Rick Stein’s recipe states to use pasta (gnocchetti sardi pasta) as the carbohydrate element of the meal, but I had requests to cook polenta. What a nightmare. Normally I love food shopping but after visiting not one, two or even three local shops, I could not locate polenta and my store cupboard stock was yet to be replenished. Eventually at shop number five I found it, although, I must have been feeling a bit frazzled as I bought quick cook polenta – the work of a food devil. I added chopped roasted vegetables, mozzarella and herbs but it still tasted vile, needless to say the remains of the packet were disposed of in the bin. I vow never to buy it again.