The Canny Cook, lower your food bills and still eat well with food editor ELEANOR MAIDMENT: Creamy sausage and mushroom pasta

The Canny Cook, lower your food bills and still eat well with food editor ELEANOR MAIDMENT: Creamy sausage and mushroom pasta

  • Six sausages will happily feed four in this simple, seasonal pasta dish

Sausages were nicknamed ‘bangers’ during the First World War. Meat shortages led butchers to make their sausages with a higher water content than usual, meaning they’d often pop open with a bang when cooked at a high heat. 

Although the moniker has stuck, we shouldn’t really see bursting sausages any more and it is no longer necessary to prick them before cooking to avoid this.

Today we are inundated with options on our supermarket shelves, jazzed up with herbs and spices and at various prices. If budgets allow, and as with all meat and poultry, I recommend buying the best-quality you can. 

A good rule is to look at the meat content. Ideally sausages should be made up of about 85 per cent meat – no lower than 75 per cent.

For me, sausages have an affinity with seasonal September produce. A traybake of sausages, squash and blackberries is a wonderful thing, perhaps with some red onions and rosemary sprigs thrown in. 

A sausage sandwich topped with mustardy red cabbage and apple slaw makes a great autumn lunch.

Sausages have an affinity with autumn produce 

I also like squeezing sausagemeat from its casing to use in pasta dishes. The recipe here is one of my staples as it only takes about 15 minutes to make. 

If you can find sausages with fennel seeds, then I highly recommend them for this dish. Alternatively, you can throw a few seeds in as you fry the sausagemeat.


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Clean and thickly slice the mushrooms, then add to the pan with a pinch of salt. Fry, stirring regularly, for about 8 minutes or until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

While the mushrooms are cooking bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than pack instructions. Scoop out a mugful of the cooking water before draining.

Add another ½ tbsp oil to the frying pan. Squeeze the sausagemeat from the skins straight into the pan and fry for 5-6 minutes or until turning golden. 

Return the mushrooms to the pan, then add the cream, cooked pasta and 3 tbsp of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss over the heat for 1 minute. 

Check the seasoning and add a little grated zest from a lemon if you have one. Divide between plates or shallow bowls and serve with grated parmesan and a grind of black pepper. 

  • Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email [email protected]. If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne