We created this dish after arriving in Rome at the start of our family Italian adventure in 2016. We were all tired after a very early flight out of Ireland and we were hungry.
A quick visit to the nearest local shop where we purchased some incredible Italian sausages, local tomatoes and red wine and Daddy's Homemade Sausage Ragu was born. We all loved it so much, it's became a staple dish that we've cooked in every country we've visited since that trip, varying the ingredients to what we could find locally.
Heat a pan on a medium/high ring and add a tablespoon of olive oil
Squeeze the sausages out of their skins into the pan
Break up the sausages into small pieces as they cook - top tip: a whisk is great for this
Add the rosemary, fennel seeds, some salt and pepper and continue frying all together until the sausages are well broken up and browning
Add the red onion and fry for about 5 minutes
Add the garlic, cook for a few more minutes and then pour in the wine
Let the wine bubble away, using it to scrape any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan until it has all evaporated
Add the tomatoes along with about half a tin of cold water - this also gets all of the tomato from the tin
Bring back up to the boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer. At this stage, deepening on how quickly the sauce thickens, you can cook it anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours. If you leave it longer, then you can cover and add more water as necessary
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions, less about a minute or so as you want to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
Once the pasta is nearly cooked, drain, reserving some of the cooking water
The sauce should have thickened nicely so test the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste
Add the pasta to the sauce (or vice versa depending on the relative size of your pans) and mix together, adding some of the reserved pasta water to create a lovelocks consistency.
Add a generous sprinkling of the cheese, mix in with more pasta water if necessary
Serve up with some basil and a final sprinkle of cheese
Serving Size Feeds 5 (inc. 3 constantly hungry teens)