for the sagne
250g all-purpose flour
150ml warm water
250g romano beans, fresh or frozen
2 good quality Italian pork sausages
wild fennel seed, toasted and crushed
extra virgin olive oil
28oz can plum tomatoes, basil, onion
small glass of red wine (montepulciano d’abbruzzo would suit the mood)
pecorino cheese, grated
In a mixing bowl mix the salt and flour together and add the warm water. Mix the water and flour with your fingers, gradually incorporating all the flour. Add a little more water if necessary to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a work surface and knead energetically for 10 minutes to achieve a firm but elastic dough. Wrap and leave to rest for an hour.
Make the tomato sauce. Saute a little garlic in xvoo until coloured. Add ½ a small onion, diced, and continue on gentle heat until softened. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, a few basil leaves and simmer over a lively heat until nicely thickened. Reserve.
Rinse the beans well, put in a pot and cover with cold water. Add a sage leaf or 2, a clove of garlic, a good thread of evoo. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently until tender, 20 minutes or so. Add salt and reserve.
Make the sagne
Cut the dough into 4. Flatten each piece and pass through the rollers of the pasta machine set at their widest setting. Continue to pass each piece, reducing the setting each time, stopping short of the finest setting. The sheets should not be too thin. Cut each sheet horizontally in half and then crosswise into thick short strips. Flour well and transfer to a tray.
When you are ready to cook bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat some xvoo in a wide sauté pan. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into the pan in large pieces. Cook over a lively heat not stirring just squashing them a little with a wooden spoon, to create a nice crust on the sausage. Add some chopped garlic, hot chilli flakes to taste and a pinch of the wild fennel. Colour the garlic lightly. Add the wine and scape and stir to catch the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato sauce and the beans with some of their cooking broth. Simmer all together for several minutes.
Drop the sagne into the boiling water. When they have all risen to the surface use a large strainer to transfer them to the pan with the sauce. Continue to cook, mixing everything well together with a wooden spoon. It should be nice and soupy. If necessary add some extra pasta cooking water. Add a handful of pecorino cheese and a thread of extra virgin olive oil. Pour into a large warm serving bowl and bring to the hungry table.