- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF, gas mark 6). Place the sausages in a flameproof casserole over a moderate heat and cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the sausages frequently so that they brown evenly. Remove the sausages from the pan and set them aside on a plate. Discard excess fat from the pan.
- Add the oil, fennel seeds and bay leaves to the pan. Heat until the oil is hot and the seeds are beginning to sizzle, then add the garlic, onion, rosemary and oregano. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is slightly softened. Stir in the fennel, aubergine and mushrooms.
- Add the tomato purée, wine and stock. Stir to mix the tomato purée into the liquid, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Slice the sausages and stir them into the casserole. Cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the macaroni and cover the casserole again, then return it to the oven. Cook for a further 15 minutes. The pasta will not be completely tender at this stage. Remove from the oven.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Gradually stir the red chard into the casserole, adding more as the first handfuls wilt. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole. Put back into the oven, uncovered, and cook for 30 more minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden. Underneath, the pasta and vegetables should be tender. Serve at once, in the casserole.
Some more ideas
Try some of the more unusually flavoured sausages in this casserole. Pork and leek sausages and chicken and tarragon sausages are both good, as are Toulouse. * Pork meatballs can be used instead of sausages. Mix 340 g (12 oz) lean minced pork with 3 crushed garlic cloves, 3 tbsp chopped parsley and 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs. Add 1 beaten egg and some seasoning and mix thoroughly. Wet your hands under cold water, then shape the mixture into walnut-sized meatballs. Brown the meatballs in step 1, then return to the casserole in step 3 in place of the sliced sausages.
Good-quality sausages with a high meat content are the best to use as they will contain less fat, fillers and additives. Read the label to be sure you are making a healthy choice. * Red chard, a delicious leafy green vegetable, is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and several of the B vitamins. * Bay leaves are thought to act as a stimulant and aid digestion.
Each serving provides
C, copper, iron * B6, B12, folate, calcium, phosphorus, zinc * A, B1, B2, niacin, potassium