This recipe puts an Italian twist on the classic English dish toad in the hole. The rich red wine sauce takes this dish over the top.
Technique tip: Make sure the baking dish is piping hot from the oven before adding the batter mixture.
Swap option: Try using sun-dried tomatoes instead of onions for a tomatoey twist.
For the Italian sausage in the hole:1.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.2.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the sausages and onions for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and fennel seeds and cook for a further 3 minutes. Turn the sausages and onions regularly until browned and onions start to caramelize. Remove from the pan and set aside.3.
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, milk and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk to make a smooth batter.4.
Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil into a medium-sized shallow ovenproof dish and place in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes to allow the oil to become very hot.5.
Take the dish out of the oven and add all the ingredients from the pan with the sausages into the hot oil, then pour over the batter (and you should hear it sizzle). Place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and golden.
For the Italian red wine sauce:1.
Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with a little oil over a high heat for about 3 minutes until lightly browned and then add the rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 2 minutes, stirring often.2.
Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds around 15 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the sugar and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, around 20 minutes (continue stirring). Strain the sauce to remove all the solids and discard. Then return the sauce to the saucepan over a low heat.3.
Add the corn flour to a little water in a small bowl and mix well, then add this to the saucepan with the sauce and whisk for a further minute until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Pour generously over the Italian sausage in the hole.