Spicy Sausage Pasta

No amount of Parmesan could rescue this

I’m sure there’s a decent recipe within Spicy Sausage Pasta from Justine Pattison, but I royally screwed it up by not having the correct ingredients in to make it. I couldn’t get hold of any spicy pork sausages (can anyone, from supermarkets?) and used regular pork ones sprinkled with a generous helping of chilli flakes. My back bacon substitute for smoked lardons was also an epic fail, and although a tin of chopped tomatoes in preference to using 3 large ripe tomatoes was more excusable, fresh is always better than tinned equivalents.

The end result, through every fault of my own, was bland and disappointing and it tasted way too tomatoery, if that’s a ‘thing’? I tried to rescue it by dolloping parmesan on top but I wasn’t fooling anyone. Not least my teenage son who charitably said, “It’s nice Dad but I’m full, so I’ll put it in the microwave and eat it later”, where it remained untouched.

The moral of the story here is that while you can get away with some simple substitutes in many recipes, this isn’t one of them, particularly when bolder flavours such as chilli and smoked lardons are required. If you have a go at making this and it turns out well, do let me know :-).

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Pasta

Calories: 503 per serving

Serves: 4

Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Pasta and Rice

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 30 mins


  • 400g spicy pork sausages (such as chilli pork)
  • 75g diced smoked lardons (or smoked streaky bacon, diced)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 200g dried pasta shapes (such as fusilli or penne)
  • 75ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Handful of fresh basil, roughly torn (optional)

Cost per portion: Approx £1.24 per serving


Snip between each sausage to separate and squeeze the meat out of the skins. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lardons, sausage meat and onion. Cook together for about 20 minutes, until well browned stirring regularly to break up the sausage meat. You want it to become quite sticky and to pick up lots of smoky flavours.

While the onion and sausage meat are cooking, half fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Make a small cross in the bottom of each tomato and add them to the water. Dunk for about 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and put them on a chopping board to cool for a short while. Add the pasta to the same water and return it to the boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and roughly chop the flesh, discarding the tough central cores. Pour the wine into the frying pan and add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook for a further 5-9 minutes or until rich and thick, stirring regularly.

Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the saucepan. Tip the sausage mixture into the same pan and toss well together. Spoon into warmed bowls and serve scattered with torn basil leaves if you like.


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