Making pasta doesn't have to be a lengthy process; this quick, filling feast even offers some play-value for the kids.
Recipe: Instant pasta with pork & fennel ragu
Instant pasta with pork & fennel ragu
¼ cup olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp chilli flakes
500g pork mince
¼ cup dry red wine
500ml chicken stock
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
Pinch of salt and cracked pepper
½ bunch of basil, leaves picked
75g pecorino cheese, grated
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g fine semolina
180ml lukewarm water
To make the ragu, heat oil in a large heavy-based or cast-iron saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion is softened and golden. Add garlic, fennel seeds and chilli flakes, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add pork mince, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Deglaze with red wine and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add stock and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low and allow to gently simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until thick and rich. Stir through butter and half the basil.
Meanwhile, to make pasta, combine flour and semolina in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Gradually add water and use a fork to bring the flour into the centre until a rough dough forms. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Break off 10 cent coin-sized pieces of dough and roll out into thin sausage shapes. Working with one piece at a time, place your fingers along the top of each sausage, then drag down and towards you to create a curled shape. (This is a fun one to get the kids to help with.) Place shaped pasta on a dusted surface while repeating the process with the remaining dough.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook pasta for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta and transfer to the sauce, adding a little of the pasta water to create the perfect consistency.
Serve pasta topped with pecorino and garnish with remaining basil leaves.
This recipe first appeared in the April 2021 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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