This recipe comes from Books for Cooks, volume 4, a collection of recipes put together by the bookshop of the same name. For more information about what is, in my opinion, one of the best shops in world, have a look at their website here.
I've tried various puff pastry tarts in the past but these ones sounded a bit different. No sauce as such to bind the filling together, just an interesting mix of sausage, tomato, broccoli and spices. I was worried at first that there was too much filling for the pastry but with a bit of gentle stretching and a couple of minor patch-ups I got them into the oven pretty much intact. And, as you can see above, they came out in one piece aswell.
The result was lovely - hearty flavours from the sausage and broccoli, a little bit of warmth from the chilli and a hint of aniseed coming through now and again thanks to the fennel seeds. I'll be making these again.
Spicy Sausage & Broccoli Tartletts with Roast Cherry Tomatoes
(adapted from Books For Cooks Volume 4 - various authors)
375g/12 oz puff pastry
300g/10oz sprouting broccoli, broccoli di rapa or broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
350g/12oz best meaty pork sausages, skinned
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp crushed chilli flakes
12 (about 200g/7oz) ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt & black pepper
4 tbsp freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan
125g/4oz mozarella, diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful fresh basil, torn
Extra olive oil to serve
1) Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Have ready 2 floured baking sheets
2) Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a square about 30 by 30 cm (12 by 12 inches). Cut out four equal sized squares from the rolled out pastry. (If you have a box of ready rolled pastry I'd recommend rolling it out a bit further to the size mentioned above, otherwise you might struggle to fit all the filling on)
3) Cut up the broccoli into 2 1/2cm/1 inch pieces and cook in a pan of boiling salted water until just tender, from 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and straightaway refresh the broccoli pieces in plenty of cold water to preserve their nice fresh green colour, then drain well.
4) Warm the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Stir in the sausage meat, garlic, fennel and chilli. Fry quite briskly, stirring and squashing with a wooden spoon to break up the sausage meat into pieces, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broccoli pieces and cherry tomatoes halves and cook for another minute to flavour with the herby, spicy oil. Add salt and pepper and any extra chilli to taste (the 1/4 teaspoon of chilli flakes don't give a huge amount of heat so if you like a bit of extra kick then I would recommend you add some more).
5) Divide the sausage mixture among the pastry squares, leaving a 2cm/3/4 inch border, aiming to have a few of the tomato halves on top for the best colour, then sprinkle over the grated cheese. Fold over the pastry border onto the filling, pleating as you go.
6) Bake the tarts until the pastry is crisp and golden, about 20-25 minutes, swapping the baking sheets over half way through baking. Transfer each pie to a warmed plate, sprinkle with mozarella dice, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, grind over a little pepper and scatter with basil. Serve at once.