It is not my intention to wind up the purists (well, occasionally it is) or the grammar police (cough), but sometimes I do. I consider myself a bit of a purist too, and I am both intolerant and intolerable about some things, but then sometimes, I veer so wildly off course and discover a delicious, happy and impure ending, that I can’t help but embrace it with joy.
That is where I found myself this evening. I have had a bit of a traumatic week (which I will fill you in on another time), and I am in Ireland, away from home (even though it is home, and that is confusing).
I had bought sausages on arrival (I love Irish sausages and always have them when I am home), and I was starving. I was looking out the kitchen window at the driving rain and the grey sky but also at my sisters herb garden and the wild enormous sage bush. I thought of the sausages and ooh-eeee wouldn’t they be lovely together?
Then I wondered about a carbonara. A silky smooth sauce made from a simple egg yolk and some pecorino or parmesan. If I chopped the sausages into small chunks and got them nice and brown and served this frankenara* with a very simple garnish of lots of sage leaves, crisped whole in some butter. The die was cast.
I usually make my carbonara with spaghetti but all I had was penne, and this works very well too. It took such a short period of time to prepare. Use simple sausages that taste of pork and maybe a little white pepper as Irish sausages do, a good large egg will give you the best yolk for the sauce, fresh sage and some good pasta too. The sausages that I used were Clonakilty Ispíní (ispíní – ishpeenee – is the Irish word for sausage), which have such a strong fond taste memory of my childhood they are instantly soothing when I eat them. They are a small sausage and are very smooth, not like the crumbly sausages that are more common now. You can buy them quite easily in the UK too in most major supermarkets and some butchers too.
Enjoy and if you like this frankenara, you will probably like Spaghetti Corkese, another one of my frankenstein pastas, and a popular one too.
*frankenara = a frankenstein approach to carbonara
Recipe: Sausage & Sage Frankenara
Serves 1 (a large portion)
125g pasta (I used penne)
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1 large raw egg yolk from the happiest best fed chicken in the land
1 tbsp finely grated pecorino or parmesan or a good strong hard Irish cheese
125g small narrow sausages, ideally ispíní (and that will be 4 of them)
8 sage leaves (and more on the side as you will inevitably want them)
extra virgin olive oil for frying
Cook your pasta in salted water, according to packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, chop the sausages into small chunks and leave to the side.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil and crisp the sage leaves in it. This will take only a minute. Make sure you take them out while still green as when brown they will taste burned.
Add the garlic to the oil, curt side down and cook until just brown, just to flavour it. Remove and discard.
Cook the sausages in the oil over a medium-high heat, stirring all the time to make sure they are brown all over.
Whisk the egg yolk and cheese and leave in a cold bowl large enough to take the pasta.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the egg yolk and cheese, stirring in quickly so that the egg yolk stays smooth and doesn’t scramble.
Add the sausages. You probably won’t need to salt this as the pasta water was salted and the sausages are salty too, but check.
Serve with the sage leaves on top.