Recipe: Sausage Meat Sauce for Pasta Bakes or Sloppy Joes (How 2 Sausages Provide 4 Meals)

Sausage Pasta Bake

Texture. It is a funny word, and one perhaps somewhat overlooked in Western cuisine? To me it seems that the word itself has texture, with the spikes of the “x” to the curves of the “e”.

I had not really thought about texture in food and how it affected my likes and dislikes, until I read Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper” where she explained the Chinese approach to, and appreciation of texture in food.  The Chinese have many words to describe food texture; it is as much part of a good meal as the flavours, from the crunch of cartilage to the rather tasteless jellyfish or pig ears which are  served purely for their texture rather than flavour.

I realise that I struggle with certain textures, I certainly like wet food and am known for asking for extra sauce or gravy, I also like crunchy food (do we feel a Harry Hill fight coming on here?).  What I really do not like is slimy food, and sausage casseroles are something which I struggle with – something to do with the texture of the soft skins having been cooked in sauce.  (Similarly I really really cannot abide Chinese egg drop soup – the mere thought of those slimy strands of egg floating in liquid turns my stomach.)

Similarly lots of clothes irritate me, and I am far far more comfortable with fine bed linens, cheaper cottons can feel rough to me, even if Ed does not notice as much.  I cannot abide most synthetic smells, laundry detergent is one of the worse offenders, and for the majority of the time I use either eco-balls or laundry gloop made with unscented soap.   I also dislike the smell of spray deodorant, Ed is banished to the bathroom to use his, and despite firmly closed doors between me and him, I can almost taste it within a few seconds of its use.

Good quality sausage meat is delicious, and by skinning your sausages a little goes a long way without seeming to be mean.  Two sausages from Pipers Farm found in the depths of my freezer, did very well as the basis for two meals; in sauce for a pasta bake, and as a quick midweek supper of Sloppy Joes.  Add which ever vegetables you have to hand; peppers, mushrooms, carrots and sweetcorn all work well.

Recipe: Sausage Meat Sauce for Pasta Bake or Sloppy Joes

Serves 4

Glug light olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 good quality pork sausages, deskinned and crumbled
1 small red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tin tomatoes
2 tbs tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saute pan fry the onions and garlic in the oil until soft, add the sausage meat and peppers and other vegetables (if using) and cook for a few more minutes.

Pour over the tinned tomatoes and stir in the ketchup.  Season and then cover and allow to simmer, stirring from time to time until the sauce has thickened.

Use as a sauce for a pasta bake, or in a sandwich with sliced gherkins and cheese for the ultimate sausage Sloppy Joe.

Now there was a reason for my texture and fragrance preamble: With my small kitchen I am reliant on my dishwasher, I regularly say it is my favourite kitchen appliance; there is really no space to stack dirty dishes, and the draining board is too small for washing up by hand.

I was recently asked by Finish to test some of their new Quantum tablets, and to attend a bloggers’ cooking day, to chat with them about how I found their products and to be filmed and to possibly provide some sound bites for their new commercials.

Our cooking day was great fun, held at a huge location house in Putney (my new business plan is to obtain a huge mortgage, buy a large house and let it for similar events for a vast fee).    I won’t talk too much about the day, I am sure it will appear on a number of other blogs, (Claire’s account is excellent). Under the guidance of Florence Knight we made and enjoyed burrata with blood oranges and a herb oil, octopus – delicious but it was a major texture problem for me (Ed is verging on phobic about octopi and would freak if I bought a massive one home to cook) , meatballs in a herby tomato sauce – these were OK but did not really excite me, and tiramisu which after the massive amount of burrata was far far too much dairy for my (admittedly slightly hungover) tummy.

Dishwasher tablets are one of those things that generally you only really think about or notice when they do not work very well, you unload the dishwasher and curse at the number of dishes that you need to rewash by hand.   Having been asked to think about the new Finish Quantum tablets I paid closer attention when unloading the dishwasher, and everything did actually come out clean, including the dish for the pasta bake which ordinarily I would have had to rewash by hand to get rid of the last bits of encrusted sauce. My main observations are:

  • Cheap dishwasher tablets are a waste of money
  • As far as I could see the Powergel tablets really did leave my dishes drier and sparklier.
  • If you have a cheap dishwasher (mine is very low end) then premium tablets make a huge different to performance
  • Premium tablets are nearly always on special offer somewhere – I stock up when I seem them and usually pay no more than 12p per wash
  • Given my hatred synthetic fragrances and detergents I was very impressed and surprised at the smell of the Finish Quantum Apple & Lime – fruity, natural and not at all artificial
  • I’ll be buying them again

Image by Charlotte Tolhurst for Finish

With two sausages stretching to 4 portions I am sending this sauce to this months Credit Crunch Munch, my old Frugal Friday event, skillfully named and logoed by Camilla (this month’s host) and her graphic designer husband.

Credit Crunch Munch

And I am delighted to be able to send this to Vanesther’s new Recipes for Life event, in partnership with Swallow a Somerset charity supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives.   Amongst other activities Swallow run cookery courses, helping their members to prepare simple, inexpensive and nutritious meals, this month the theme is sausages, onions and tomatoes so this frugal multi purpose sauce is perfect!

This post is now weighing in at double my usual self imposed word limit, so well done if you have made it this far!

Disclosure: I was paid a fee to take part in the Finish bloggers day and to be filmed and was also given several packets of Quantum dishwasher tablets. I was not required to write a positive review and ll opinions are my own.

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About Helen

Helen Best-Shaw is a freelance food & writer, photographer who has been writing about achievable, affordable and mostly healthy food on Fuss Free Flavours since 2007. She also contributes articles, recipes and photos to a number of online and print food magazines. Please do contact me if you would like to discuss commissioning work.

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  1. My boyfriend has texture issues with some foods, he won’t eat aubergines or mushrooms mainly due to the texture rather than the taste. Even if I cut them up small he still manages to pick them out sometimes. When it comes to sausage casserole I’m the same as you, soft sausage skins are not nice so I always make sure my sausages are well browned before adding to the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, just long enough to impart their sausagey flavours to the sauce without going squishy. Love the sound of your sausage sauce as well, looks easy to make and very versatile.

    • I do wonder if many food dislikes are mainly textural, only in the West we do not really have a culture of describing texture in depth?

      • Could well be, quite often when my boyfriend isn’t keen on something I’ve cooked it tends to be the texture. There’s not much I don’t like except oranges, also don’t really like eating whole bananas but quite happy to have them sliced on porridge or cereal. That’s probably just me being weird.

  2. I definitely agree with you on the dishwasher tablets… They have amazed me… Today I managed to coat a pan with concrete like sugar when making caramel sauce & it removed the lot! The Burrata was lovely… Lets not mention the octopus!

    • Well yes, good tablets do make a difference. I was very impressed my pasta bake dish was spotless.

      I also inhaled the cocoa and choked on my tiramisu.

  3. There were a few chokages with that coca powder on the tiramisu! As an massive fan of Fuchsia Dunlop, and having loved Sharks fin & Sichuan pepper, I can safely say that I am a keen follower of good texture but what I love is combining crunchy & soft. Not sure if this is something the Chinese do but if I was having a soft stew I would want to have some crunchy baguette with it or some al dente broccoli or French beans.
    As for the tablets, I think they are really good but failed to convey this well on camera. Enjoyed the octopus experience and I’m not sure Florence was expecting so many dislikes considering it is one of her signature dishes.

    • I completely failed to convey anything on camera, as I said the problem is you only notice dishwasher tablets if they do not do the job that you assume they will…

  4. Thanks Helen for getting Recipes for Life off to such a great start. Your sausage sauce is absolutely perfect!

  5. Emma J Lowe says:

    really enjoyed reading this. i would never have thought of skinning a sausage.

  6. I’m going to have to try this one Helen as I have a couple of sausages lurking in the freezer in need of a good recipe. This really is a very frugal but very delicious sounding dish which I’m sure my kids would love too:-) I’ve not heard of a Sloppy Joe though!

  7. Frugal, delicious and easy – what more could you want?!


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