Two Italian recipes to savour

Italy 2 recipes.jpg

Salsicce alla Toscana – Spicy Italian sausages and beans

Perfect for a tasty winters day lunch or dinner

Real comfort food without the calories -  quick, simple, hearty and healthy


1 400g tin cannellini beans

1 tblsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp chopped fresh sage

2-4 Italian sausages (deli style is best for flavour – or replace with any spicy sausages)

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat and fry garlic and sage for 30 seconds

Set aside

Prick sausages, add to pan and cook for 5 minutes

Add tomatoes and stock

Simmer for 10 minutes – turning now and then

Add the garlic, sage and beans, simmer for another 10 minutes

Season with salt and pepper


If you prefer, dried cannellini beans soaked overnight previously can be substituted for tinned and will need 30 mins simmering prior to adding.  Number of sausages above is based on using medium to large size – adjust numbers dependent on size.


Braised beef in Barolo

The real deal – classic traditional Italian recipe from the Piedmonte region

First an admonishment – we all acknowledge the simplest recipes are often the best but to be the best, the best ingredients must be used. Starting with the Barolo wine, you may feel reckless to use a good wine to cook with, however the results will speak for themselves.  A full and flavoursome wine will release those characteristics concentrating the rich flavour, rounded tannins and intensity back into your dish. Likewise a cheap raw wine will leave your dish with that vital  something’s missing result. 

Note this recipe needs to be started the day before with an overnight marinate to really absorb and release the full flavours.


1kg cut of your choice – shoulder, chuck or beef rump

2 bottles of Barolo – 1 for the recipe, and the other of course to accompany

2 stalks of celery – roughly chopped

3 onions – roughly quartered

3 shallots – roughly quartered

1 tblsp of juniper

¼ tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated adds a more intensive flavour)

couple of cloves

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary

salt and freshly ground pepper

extra virgin oil or 2 tblsp butter


2 tblsp butter



Chop vegetables to sizes as above

Place in a large bowl with the meat and spices, cover with the wine and refrigerate to marinate overnight

Next day – separate the meat, pat dry and coat with flour

Melt butter in a large cast iron pot and brown the meat on all sides for 4 minutes

Add marinade and vegetables – simmer gently for 3 hours

Remove the meat from the pot

Separate the vegetables and spices (discard the bay leaves) and press through a sieve with a spoon back into the pot

Add 2 tblsp butter, season with salt and pepper to taste

The sauce should be thick and without lumps, if it is too liquid add a tsp of cornflour, stir and cook a few minutes more

When the meat has cooled cut into slices and return to pot

Reheat to serve

Serve with your favourite in season vegetables and polenta and of course the reserved second bottle of Barolo for a truly memorable and harmonious Italian meal.