Nothing beats an authentic pasta sauce and using a chunky pork sausage makes it even easier to throw together. The key tip to this recipe is the slow cooking of the sauce which really brings out the wonderful flavours of the pork, the fresh herbs and red wine. This is one of those recipes that will become one of your week night staples, so make an extra batch and freeze it down and you will always have a little bite of Italy on hand.
Heat a large heavy based 3-4 lt pot over a moderate temperature and add in the olive oil. Add in the chopped pork sausage in batches and allow the sausage to cook for 4-5 minutes before turning them over or stirring. Cook the pieces for another 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the sausage pieces to another bowl and finish cooking all of the remainder sausage. Don’t worry if some of the sausage gets stuck to the bottom of the pan, this will come up when you add the other ingredients. The key is to allow the sausage to brown before turning it over.
When you have removed all of the sausage, add the in whole garlic and the diced onions, there should be enough oil left in the pan to slightly sauté the garlic and onion for about 3 minutes. Pour in the red wine and use the tip of your spoon to start to lift off any of those delicious bits that are stuck to the bottom on the pan.
Simmer the onions and the red wine for about 5 minutes, until the onions have softened and the wine has reduced by about half. Add the cooked pork sausage pieces back into the pan, pour in the diced tomatoes, the water and stir in the tomato paste and the herbs.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours partially covered with a lid. The sauce will be ready when it is a deep red colour and a thin film of red oil is sitting on the surface – this is flavour and a testament to a fantastic traditional ragu.
Allow the sauce to sit for about 10 minutes before serving with the fettuccini. While the sauce is resting, cook the fettuccini in plenty of salted water as per the directions on the packet, drain and for a simple tip, add in a couple of spoons of sauce into the pasta pot stirring to cover the pasta with sauce.
Serve the pasta into bowls or a large platter and then top generously with the Pork and Fennel Ragu.