Chris Bavin's Quick Spicy Sausage Ragu

If you want a flavour-packed bowl of spaghetti on the table in under half an hour, you can't go wrong with Chris Bavin's quick and easy sausage ragu.

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Introduction

This spicier twist on the classic ragu is tasty, satisfying, and quick to prepare and cook. Try experimenting with different flavoured sausages to find your favourite flavour combinations. The ragu is perfect for cooking ahead; simply reheat thoroughly and serve with pasta for a quick dinner.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 30 min

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Hot and Smoky Spice Mix (see below) or hot smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, sliced
8 good-quality sausages, skins removed
200g (7oz) mushrooms, sliced
good splash of white wine (about 150ml/5fl oz)
400g can chopped tomatoes
200ml (7fl oz) chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g (14oz) spaghetti or linguine
Parmesan shavings
torn basil or parsley leaves, or chopped chives, to garnish
For the optional Hot and Smoky Spice Mix:
4 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1–2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

To make the Hot and Smoky Spice Mix (if using):

These spices add heat and pungency to dishes, giving an authentic Mexican kick.

Mix together the smoked paprika, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Store in an airtight jar for up to 1 year.

To make the ragu:

1. Fry the onion in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until it is soft, then add the spice mix or paprika and garlic, fry for another minute, and scrape everything onto a plate.

2. Add the sausages to the pan with the rest of the oil and cook until they are a light golden brown, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as you fry them.

3. Put the onion back in the pan along with the mushrooms and fry for a minute before adding the wine. Bring to a simmer and leave to bubble gently until the wine has reduced by half, then add the tomato sauce or tomatoes and the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes then season with salt and pepper.

4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and stir the pasta through the sauce, adding some of the pasta water to loosen it if the sauce is a bit thick. Serve with a scattering of Parmesan shavings and the herbs.

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