Luganega sausage derive its name from Lucania, the ancient name of today’s Basilicata, but the sausage has gradually migrated towards the north. It is now available all over Italy, but more so at higher latitudes, and is celebrated in the Veneto. This version, seasoned with the earthy undertones of porcini, is perfect for autumn. Farro, simmered but retaining a little bite, with the addition of fresh porcini mushrooms and finished with tarragon makes a delicious foil for the sausage.
Luganega sausage, farro & porcini
200g farro (emmer, or substitute spelt)
1 small spanish onion, peeled & quartered
1 carrot, peeled & halved
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g fresh or frozen porcini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
3 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves picked & chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
- For the sausage:
- Remove the Luganega sausage from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- To cook the sausage, heat a barbecue, griddle pan or cast-iron frying pan till medium-hot, then grill or sauté for around 3-4 minutes per side. Time the cooking of the sausage to coincide with the farro and porcini.
- For the farro and porcini:
- Give the farro a good rinse under cold running water, then drain and transfer to a suitable saucepan. Add the carrot, onion and bay leaf, and enough cold water to sit 1-inch above the top of the farro.
- Place on a high heat, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, skim off any foam that has risen to the surface, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until nearly tender, but still with too firm a bite to make pleasant eating. Season to taste with salt, the drain the farro, reserving the cooking liquor. Remove and discard the onion, carrot & bay.
- Meanwhile, chop the porcini into 1cm or so chunks. Heat a wide, heavy based frying pan on a high heat, then add the oil, and half the butter. Add the porcini, season well with salt & pepper, and saute until golden brown on all sides.
- Add the garlic, and let it just start to sizzle, then add a little (perhaps 100ml) of the farro cooking liquor, and the drained farro. Lower the heat, and cook both together for 5-10 minutes, until the farro has softened, but not turned mushy, and the cooking liquor has been absorbed. If the farro is still too firm, simply add a little extra liquor, and continue cooking.
- When ready, take the pan from the heat, add the remaining butter & tarragon, and stir with vigour. Season to taste with salt & pepper, and eat with the sausage.