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Isabella Franco

Italian film-maker Federico Fellini famously said that “Life is a combination of magic and pasta” and this sums up Isabella’s attitude towards food perfectly! Eating for pleasure, never calorie-counting and enjoying life to the full. 

Video Description

Learn how to make hearty and authentic Italian food with Chef Isabella Franco in this original masterclass. Get step by step instructions to these original recipes and ready yourself to enjoy homemade Italian food.

Join Chef Isabella Franco in this episode as she makes her Papa's beloved sausage and porcini casserole. There's a reason she's making this recipe years later, so make sure you try this one for pure Italian comfort food. 

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30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water

1 tbsp olive oil

6 good-quality Italian sausages or spiced sausages

75g smoked pancetta

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

½ tsp chilli flakes

250g brown mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 glasses red wine

1 tbsp tomato purée

150ml beef stock

2 bay leaves

A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the sausages and brown all over. Transfer to a plate. Add the pancetta, fry quickly until the fat is golden brown, then set aside with the sausages.

Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and chilli flakes to the oil left in the pan, then fry over a medium heat until soft and lightly golden.

Drain the mushrooms (reserving some of the liquid). Slice the porcini, then add to the casserole with the fresh mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 3 - 4 minutes.

Add the wine to the casserole and simmer until it has mostly evaporated, then stir in the tomato purée, stock, reserved mushroom liquid, bay leaves, half the parsley and the sausages and pancetta.

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 35 - 40 minutes until the sausages are done and the sauce has reduced slightly.

Remove the bay leaves, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve with crusty bread or mash.