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Fragrant Salsiccia con zucchini e farfalle

There is nothing quite like cooking a delicious Italian meal. What is even better though, is cooking a delicious meal when you are actually in Italy and are able to use local produce.

Salsiccia is a totally different food group to what South Africans would understand as pork or veal sausage. I’ve never found anything like it at home. It’s a bit like trying to explain boerewors versus other sausages to non-South Africans. As I said – Totally. Different. Food. Group.

Geoff has always wowed with his Zucchini and Salsiccia dish served with pasta, but this time he really outdid himself.

We found some impressive zucchini’s at the weekly market in Montfort d’Alba. I love it when they still have their flowers attached. I’ve rarely seen them sold like this at home. (I would love to try stuffing them a la Masterchef, but that’s for another day.)

We bought some great looking salsiccia at the Mercato in Alba. To be honest we simply chose them on price as they were marked “offerto” which always appeals when traveling on the ZAR. The parmigiana regiano was also on “offerto” and also turned out to be tastier than any equivalent I’ve ever bought in SA. Sorry to seem surprised, but I sadly I never expect real quality at a reduced price.

Fresh local ingredients are so inspiring
You can't beat the real stuff for flavour

So on with the recipe! This makes a generous helping for two people.

Begin by chopping the zucchini into thin strips. You won’t believe me, but it tastes so much better than slices or rings do. You’ll need about 3 large or 6 small zucchini. Before they are cooked it looks like it’s far too much, but trust me – they disappear to almost nothing.

Put some salted water on to boil for the pasta. We used a large mug of the little bow ties known as farfalle. They are great for catching the juicy flavours from the meat sauce and look so pretty too.

Remove the sausage meat from the casing (use about 3 or 4 sausages) and break it down over heat to mince form. Now when we use SA porkies, we add garlic at this stage, but it just wasn’t necessary with these fragrant and well seasoned salsiccia!

Salsiccia-pasta-mixed
This is where it all starts coming together

Once the sausage mince has started to brown, add a small fresh red chilli or a dash of dried chilli flakes to your taste. Next add the zucchini strips and allow them to cook lightly in the sausage fat.

Pop the pasta into the boiling water until it’s al dente (still just a touch hard, the Italian way). When it’s ready add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix it in, giving it a few minutes to absorb the flavours. (Save a splash or two of the pasta water to add to the pasta and sauce combo in case it’s a bit dry.)

I just love these little bow ties
Steaming, lightly spicy and delicious!

Next switch off the heat and toss in the grated parmigiana. It’s ready to serve with a grind of fresh black pepper and simple green salad.

Pasta and red wine- a perfect marriage.

Most importantly, open a little bottle of the local red wine and enjoy!

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