Pasta with sausage and turnip top sauce

This main course pasta dish is perfect for those who want to eat lots of vegetables like turnip tops, cabbage or broccoli, but don’t enjoy them on their own. If you make a tasty pasta sauce with these vegetables and flavour them with some sausage meat, people who are not crazy about green vegetables will find that they can eat them in a "painless" way. In short: taste, colour and healthiness in an inexpensive pasta dish, perfect for everyday eating. Of course you can customize the recipe to your liking, turning it into a vegetarian sauce, or adjusting as you see fit the quantity of sausage relative to greens, or changing the shape pf pasta used. If you can’t find any turnip tops, you can easily replace them with other greens, broccoli or cauliflower. It will remain a tasty and very healthy dish. Not only that, if you can’t get hold of any fresh pasta, you can use dried, using plain fusilli, for example. The result will be equally flavourful. And, as we mentioned, if you are vegetarian, you can also remove the sausage completely and make it exclusively with fresh vegetables.


20 minutes Total time
15 minutes Active time
Serves 2 persons
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Fry the garlic clove in a little oil. Crumble the sausage meat and add to the pan. Pour in a little white wine and reduce. Remove the clove of garlic. Separately, blanched the greens in boiling water. After 5 minutes, drain and add them to the sausage meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper, chop the turnips slightly and stir with a wooden spoon so as to amalgamate everything. If you wish, add the chilli. Cook the pasta in the greens’ cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Mix well, sprinkle lightly with parmesan and serve immediately.

If you can’t find strozzapreti pasta, try making this dish with other fresh pasta shapes such as trofie or orecchiette. Also, if you want to give extra character to the sauce, add plenty of freshly ground pepper – although if there are children eating better to avoid it.
The classic pasta to use with this recipe is called ‘Strozzapreti’ – or ‘priest strangler’ - and there are several theories about how it got this Italian name. One suggests that the pasta vaguely recalls the shoelaces with which, during the harsh papal rule, one could strangle the priests. Another theory suggests the priests were so gluttonous that they ate this delicious pasta until they choked themselves. A third theory is that, during the papal rule, families should pay tribute to the State in the form of eggs, so the housewives could only make pasta with flour and water, making them wish to choke the priests. Finally, there is the theory that the husbands themselves - strongly anti-clerical - wished to choke the priests themselves when the wives offered them abundant, homemade fresh pasta dishes.

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