In a recent survey by BBC’s Good Food Magazine (India edition), 43% of the respondents listed Italian as their favourite international cuisine. No surprise there since pizzas and pastas are some of the most popular and almost universally available dishes. In authentic Italian cuisine the focus is on bringing out the flavour of the vegetables or meats and fresh herbs used, rather than on the overuse of cream or sauces.
Fusilli Campagnolo is a simple, versatile dish, with enough room to improvise. Campagnolo means ‘from the countryside’, so it is essentially a rustic dish. The inspiration for this dish came from one of my favourite blogs Italian Food Forever.
You can replace fusilli with any short pasta (penne, rigatoni, farfalle etc.). Avoid using long pasta (spaghetti, tagliatelle etc.) since the sauce is chunky and will not mix evenly with the longer variety.
This recipe also uses the hard Italian cheese parmigiano (or Parmesan). It has a sharp taste and small quantities are used, either grated or shaved. You may skip it if it’s not easily available to you.
This recipe serves 3-4 people.
- 500g Pasta (I use Barilla or Agnesi brands)
- 400g firm ripe Tomatoes
- 250g Chicken or pork sausages, chorizo or any meat you like, chopped (you can replace the meat with mushrooms and bell peppers for a vegetarian version)
- 6 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
- 3tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1tsp dry mixed Herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
- ½tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
- A small handful of fresh Basil or Rosemary
- Start by boiling enough water as per the pasta packet instructions.
- Heat a non-stick pan or skillet and toss around the garlic so that it releases its aroma. Add 2tbsp olive oil and fry the garlic. It should not become brown.
- Add the meat and cook till done.
- Grate the tomatoes. You can also blanch, peel and chop or blend them, but I prefer to grate them and cook them down.
- Once the meat is done, add the tomatoes and cook the sauce on a medium heat. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.
- Meanwhile, add the pasta and some salt to the boiling water and let it cook for the required time (check the packet). Pasta should be cooked al dente, literally “to the tooth” or just cooked so that it is still a bit firm. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss it with 1tbsp olive oil.
- When the tomato sauce is cooked, add the dried herbs and half the fresh basil or rosemary.
- To plate up your dish, serve a portion of pasta on a plate and spoon some sauce on it. Sprinkle grated parmigiano and garnish with fresh basil leaves or a sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately.