Serves: 2, Prep time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Glug of olive oil

2 banana shallots, peeled, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped

125ml red wine

4 Italian sausages

1 400g tin plum tomatoes

1 pint chicken stock

Handful of celery leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

1 400g tin lentils

Small bunch basil, torn

Salt and pepper to season

Gran Cru Oil to finish

  1. Add a good glug of olive oil into a saucepan and tumble in the chopped shallots, cook for 10 minutes over a low heat.
  2. Add the garlic along with the red wine and sausages. Sear the sausages to seal in the flavour, this will take approx. 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, and stir, followed by the chicken stock, celery leaves and seasoning.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes then pour in the drained lentils.
  5. Cook for a further hour over a low heat and check intermittently for seasoning. Add the basil leaves and stir.
  6. Serve with polenta, a drizzle of Filippo Berio Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a glass of red wine.

Carmela’s tip: For added flavour drop in a Parmesan rind or two whilst cooking, remember this is a chefs perk!

Quick, easy, warming, tasty, satisfying and comforting. So many words can describe what is in essence an English sausage stew. This one however is made with a difference. Hailing from the region of ‘Umbria’ in Italy this delicious regional classic appears on my family table at least once a week.  Good quality Italian sausages are key with a good balance or seasoning and soft lentils. I often add a combination of lentils and chickpeas or cannellini beans to the sauce too, I think my mood depicts how I cook this dish. Today it’s simple and classic with the fantastic addition of chopped celery leaves. For speed and ease I use lentils from a tin but to be honest even on days that I have a little more free time, my beans and lentils will always come from a tin. Life’s far too short for soaking! Served on a bed of softly whipped polenta or alternatively with a loaf of bread, the choice is yours, however the red wine is essential!!

Buon appetitio.

Carmela x