I won’t lie to you. This is not a dish that’s light on calories. But my word it is worth every one of them. My fennel and sausage ragu is exactly what the doctor ordered for mid-February. It’s full of good, hearty ingredients and it can’t fail to cheer you up from the inside out on a chilly evening. This dish is all about the sausages; the better the sausages you can get your hands on, the better the finished dish. Head to your local farmers’ market, butcher or farm shop to get hold of something spicy and Italian, they may be a little more expensive but trust me, you won’t regret it.
You will need:
For the dough (makes enough for four pizza bases):
- 400g strong white flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 sachet fast action yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 250ml warm water
For the tomato sauce (makes enough for one pizza):
- 4 large, very ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Toppings (per pizza):
- 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
Make the dough by mixing together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. Pour in the olive oil then add the warm water.
Knead for 10 minutes then leave for an hour or so until doubled in size. Divide into four, you can freeze what you don’t use.
Next make the tomato sauce. Add the onion with a little olive oil to a frying pan over a low to medium heat and leave to soften for around 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more then stir in the diced tomatoes. Put a lid on the pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes then remove the lid, turn the heat up and continue cooking until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste then blend the sauce.
Add the fennel with a good glug of olive oil to a small lidded pan and leave over a low heat for at least 30 minutes or until well softened. Stir occasionally. Remove the lid from the pan and stir in the sugar. Continue to stir until evenly coated and caramelised.
Preheat an oven to 240C. Roll the pizza dough out on a floured surface so that it fits a large baking tray. Lightly flour the baking tray and put the dough on top.
Scandinavian food interests me; cured salmon, pickles and dark rye are the things that immediately spring to mind. By coincidence I was sent two different crispbreads to try; some from Finn Crisp and some from Plain Tasty so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try and make a Smörgåsbord with a Swedish salad; Swedish style anyway! Something very different for dinner in the ATIE household.
You will need (make as many as you need):
- Cheese and cream cheese
For the salad:
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1 small fennel, sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
- Handful fresh dill and parsley, chopped
- 3-4 spring onions, sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
I took inspiration for the salad from the Jamie Does book. Put all the prepared salad vegetables into a bowl and mix it together. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper together then dress the salad.