Arriving home late from work, there are times when I am just not prepared for supper.

The go to fast meal is a pasta dish, but it can become a bad habit.

Even Mussolini tried to ban Italians from relying on pasta as the main source of food sighting

It’s tendency to make you heavy and sluggish. He also claimed it made men less attractive to women. I couldn’t possibly comment!

What he was really aiming at was to make Italy

self-sufficient in food. In the 1930’s Italy was a large importer of grain due to it’s love of

pasta and bread. History shows his plan was unsuccessful, and pasta is still the best loved food in Italy.

Tonight, though, pasta is off the menu.

Foraging in the fridge I made this delicious Italian Sausage fry- up in less than 20 minutes.

Good Italian sausages should be 100% pork with no added fillings so have the advantage of being gluten free. They are commonly flavoured with fennel seeds, coriander, and preserved with salt and pepper.

Sausages from further South in Naples and as far as the tip of Italy are often spiced with dried chillies and preserved by drying.

Look on for plenty of choice; of salsiccie and pasta!


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, squashed

1 piece dried chilli

1 red or white onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced lengthwise

200g mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

1 sprig fresh rosemary or 2 fresh bay leaves

400g fresh Italian pork and fennel sausage, salsiccie.

150 ml red wine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Choose a wide non- stick frying pan.

Warm the oil add the squashed garlic clove.

Crush the dry chilli and sauté both in the oil to infuse the flavours.

Add the sliced onion and red pepper, stir to coat well in the oil and over a low heat, sauté until the

onion and peppers are softened and cooked.

Add the sliced mushrooms, stir to coat with the oil and cook for 5 minutes or so until they start to soften.

Add the fresh rosemary.

Raise the heat and add the Italian sausage, either in a single round or in pieces, as you prefer.

Turn the sausages in the heat and as they start to brown on both sides add the red wine.

Stir in and with a raised heat allow the alcohol to evaporate and the wine to start to reduce.

Lower the heat and finish cooking the sausages adding some water if needed.

Season sparingly with sea salt and plenty of black pepper.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online:

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