- 400g good quality pork sausage
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 1 onion, chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 1 large carrot, grated
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 150ml red wine
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
For the sauce
- 50g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 50g plain flour
- 600ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 500g rigatoni or penne
- 200g fresh spinach
Used in almost every cuisine across the world, spinach is an enormously popular green vegetable…
- 140g mature cheddar, grated
Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…
Slit the sausages and remove them from their skins, then chop them into small pieces. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the sausages and fry until lightly coloured. Add the carrot, then stir in the wine, stock, tomato purée, and season.
Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes until thickened. Taste and season. Set aside.
Put the butter, flour and milk in a pan. Gently heat, whisking, until thickened and smooth. Add a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg, season, then simmer for 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/fan 170C. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir well, then cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the spinach and, when just wilted, drain well.
Tip half the pasta into a shallow ovenproof dish, about 2.2 litre/4 pint, and level. Spoon over the sausage sauce, then cover with the remaining pasta. Pour the white sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with the cheddar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave for 5 minutes before serving.
The joy of this dish is that it can be made ready to bake several hours ahead or frozen, so it’s perfect if you are having friends round or want to get the cooking out of the way early.