Posted by: Stephlechef | July 10, 2012

Jamie Oliver’s pork ragu

Firstly, a mini celebration is in order, as my blog has crawled its way up to 4,000 views- yaaaay! (Especially good as I have been a very irregular little blogger since I hit the 3,000 mark… but it bumbles along, mostly thanks to Lorraine Pascale and her triple chocolate cheesecake)

So, to celebrate (bear in mind it was a Monday evening), I made a recipe I’ve been wanting to do for ages which I saw on Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals. Not much special there, you say… but for me to deviate from the weekly dinner plan is a rarity, even less so when I have none of the ingredients in the house and have to go out and do a shop just for one evening. Oh yes, splashing the cash. It’s amazing how well-organised you become when you have no car and no money…

I had what I think was supposed to be a version of this when I had dinner at Carluccio’s, and I was thoroughly unimpressed – the fennel was totally overpowering and I kept biting into the seeds, and the pork wasn’t even cooked through. Not nice, Carluccio. (And this was not the only reason I then pulled out of an assessment day for their graduate scheme…) Anyway, I still liked the sound of a fennel-y pork-y ragu, so when I saw Jamie’s one I thought yay 🙂 This definitely definitely took me more than 30 minutes, but then I wasn’t trying to make it quickly, so let’s blame me and not Jamie…

Jamie Oliver’s pork ragu

(Serves 4-6… I say that, I think yesterday we could have eaten double, turns out gardening is hungry work)

1-2 carrots

bunch of spring onions

2 sticks of celery

1/2 red chilli (original says a whole one, this was plenty hot enough for our weedy mouths)

6 pack posh sausages (I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference herby ones… Jamie says to make sure they are at least 85% meat… which imo actually makes for a horrible sausage, but it works well for this recipe)

1 tsp fennel seeds (I’m often one to leave out ingredients, but the fennel really makes this dish, so invest!!)

1 tsp oregano

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

tin of tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

500-600g penne pasta

pinch of salt

pinch of sugar


– Chop carrots, spring onions, celery and chilli into teensy dice (Jamie used a food processor, blitzed it instead of chopping it)

– Squeeze the sausages out of their skins (Jamie also used a food processor here, in the spirit of 30 minute meals I guess…)

– Fry the veg in olive oil until it starts to soften.

– Add the sausagemeat and help it to break up as it starts to cook

– Add the fennel and oregano and stir it all as the sausagemeat browns and the seeds start to become fragrant.

– Add the balsamic vinegar and stir it in, let it bubble and start to reduce down (it stinks as it cooks)

– Add the tin of tomatoes, and then fill the tin with water and add that too (I thought this was a bit much, maybe half a can would be enough, and then you can add more if it dries out.)

– Simmer until the sauce has thickened, taste and add a pinch of salt/sugar if it needs it. If it’s too runny, put a teaspoonful of cornflour and a spoonful of the sauce in a mug, stir it into a paste and then mix it into the ragu.

– Meanwhile, boil some water for the pasta, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta as per the pack instructions.

– Before you drain the pasta, use a mug to fish out a bit of the starchy pasta water.

– When the pasta is drained, toss (or if you are me, stir) the sauce into the pasta, and if it’s a bit sticky/not enough sauce, you can use some of the pasta water to loosen it up a little.

– Serve and top with parmesan. Jamie also put fresh basil on his, but I don’t got any as it hasn’t growed yet!!!


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