Sausage and Leek Pasta and…the Licenced Driver

It was only a matter of time but yes, Miss Arabella now has her driver’s licence.  She was eligible to hit the roads some 18 months ago but just like Alfie’s belated birthday party, somehow there was just a lot of inertia about actually sitting the test.

Sausage and Leek Pasta

Sausage and Leek Pasta

About a year ago she asked me to book the test and so I did and then she forgot to turn up for it.  And no, the RTA does not give refunds to people who fail to turn up to tests.  Arabella completed her 120 hours with me being her driving instructor for most of those 99.9% of those hours but I felt we needed some professional help when it came to parking.

Last week I booked a couple of very necessary ‘finishing’ lessons and booked the test for the end of the week.  She said the lessons were ‘great’.  I had no reason to be concerned until the day of the test when as she was leaving, Arabella yelled out, ‘And I’m not going to pass, you know’.

Normal ricotta instead of salted ricotta as salted ricotta is hard to find

Normal ricotta instead of salted ricotta as salted ricotta is hard to find

And I was stunned, (because the RTA doesn’t give refunds for failures either).  ‘What do you mean you’re not going to pass?’

‘I can’t park the car’.

‘But didn’t the driving instructor teach you how to park’.

‘He was teaching me other stuff’.

‘Why didn’t he teach you to park?  That was the whole point’.

‘Mum, don’t get me stressed’.

‘You’ll be fine.  You’re very capable.  Good luck’.  But those are the things mothers always say.  What I was really thinking was, if you can’t park a car you surely won’t pass the test.

A great week-night meal for everyone in the family

A great week-night meal for everyone in the family

An hour or so later a text message came through.  ‘After one year of not driving at all and two driving lessons, I’m a P Pl8er!!!!!!!!!’  I just had to call her.  ‘So you can park the car!’

‘Well no’.

‘But you must have done a good park in your test?’

‘I didn’t have to do a reverse park.  He got me to do a three-point turn instead’.  I was confused.  No bits were left out of the rule book when I sat my driving test.  But yes, that was the olden days and these days the instructor will ask you to do one or the other.  As luck would have it, Arabella wasn’t asked to show the instructor how she can’t reverse park and was rewarded with her driver’s licence.

A few days ago I was out on my terrace.  The poor girl came driving home and I saw her trying to park the car outside our house about four times.  I went down to render assistance.  She threw open the car door, got out and walked away saying, ‘I give up’, and leaving the car on an awkward angle, I had to finish the job for her.

But do not worry about Arabella because she’s in good spirits.  I’ve barely seen my car since she got her licence.  It’s a good thing I have strong legs and a good pair of sneakers.  Today she asked if she could take my car to a shopping mall.  I asked, ‘But how are you going to park the car?’

‘It’s all good, mum, my boyfriend will do it for me’.


Doesn't take long to get this on the plate

Doesn’t take long to get this on the plate

Recently I shared with you my Casa Barilla cooking demonstration experience with you.  From the comments it seems a lot of you were very interested in the sausage and leek pasta so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Casarecce with Leeks, Sausage and Salted Ricotta

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This dish has so few ingredients that it’s inexpensive however, as I couldn’t find salted ricotta, I can’t factor that into the cost.

  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 200g Italian pork sausages
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 small leek
  • 320g Barilla Casarecce
  • 120g salted ricotta
  • 1 handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

In a large saucepan, pour in the olive oil and heat.  Remove the sausages from their casings and break into little pieces and cook in the olive oil until golden.

And the white wine and allow to evaporate.

Meanwhile, wash the leek and halve it lengthwise.  Slice into 1/2cm pieces and add it ot the pan where the sausages are cooking.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the leeks are soft.

Cook the Barilla Casarecce in plenty of salted water, stir frequently and reserve some cooking water before draining your pasta.

Drain the pasta and toss it into the pan with your sauce.  Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and toss it until it melts.  If necessary, use some of the reserved cooking water.

Plate your Casarecce with grated salted ricotta on top.

Gabriele with his creation

Gabriele Taddeucci with his creation

I normally allow 100gms of dried pasta per person so this was a bit light-on for us so I increased the quantities.  I had a lot of trouble sourcing salted ricotta so had to go with plain ricotta with a salt sprinkle.  And it wasn’t quite the same but the pasta was wonderful nonetheless. 

This recipe is by Gabriele Taddeucci, head chef at Balla at Star.

If you liked this post you’re welcome to share it.


  1. P Pl8er!! Classic!! I’m a terrible parker, have always been and probably always will be 😉 Great Recipe Charlie x

  2. Wow! Congrats to Arabella! That is a wonderful milestone (although I’m suspecting a more stressful milestone as a parent). This recipe looks wonderful. I’m sure that I will enjoy this one. I just love the taste of leeks and I bet they are fabulous with a good Italian sausage!

  3. By the way…I’ve been in 3 car accidents (fender benders really) and two of them were while I was trying to park the car. 😉

  4. Congrats on the license but a bit concerned about the parking! This dish is one of my absolute favorites.

  5. Well, I can’t reverse park either and I’ve been driving for years! The best thing ever is the new rear view camera though, when I got my new Pilot this year, it came with the camera, I love it, especially for parking!
    My daughter still hasn’t taken her test but that’s all by design 🙂
    Congratulations to Arabella on her licence.
    Pasta looks wonderful, a definite stress reliever!


  6. delicious so delicious… Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  7. It’s just coming up to lunch time and I’m starving! This dish is exactly my style, love the leeks too.
    I could hardly wait to get my license, and I passed on the first time too! But like you, I know how to park. But I can surely sympathize because when I used to drive my boss’s car I always fronted in to a pull through parking spot to avoid backing up, because I wasn’t used to driving her car.

  8. Two new drivers in the house … you poor thing. (Seriously, the best of luck with the fight for car keys or are you planning to buy them each a car?) I don’t reverse park (aka backing up) into an empty spot in the parking lot either and prefer what is deprecatingly called ‘lady’s parking’ where you drive through the empty spot to face out on the parking slot on the opposite side. As to parallel parking on the street … only where there are at least 3 empty spots so I can pull into one of them with lots of free space. Even then, I’m usually crooked or too far from the sidewalk. These days, I usually hand my keys to my nephew when he’s with me as he’s much too critical of my driving/parking.

    I love sausage and leeks, the latter of which I have just recently added to my vegetable eating repertoire. And combining them with pasta is inspirational. 🙂

  9. I love the way to tell stories… Have you ever thought about writing a book? 🙂

  10. Haha I got my Ps in February and still, I am absolutely horrible at parking 😉
    I should keep practicing my reverse in case I need it sometime!
    This pasta looks absolutely delicious! 😀


  11. Oh Arabella how you entertain me. Congratulations on getting your licence! Now tell us more about this boyfriend? I don’t think I’ve heard about him?

  12. Congrats to Arabella for getting her license. I thought you had to do all of the above – it does sound a bit concerning if they don’t test you to park the car.. as you do need to at some point when you stop driving. lol.

  13. YAY Arabella can drive now 🙂 Congratulation to her for passing after only one try! It’s good now that you don’t have to drive her around but also not that great because she’s taken your car all the time! LOL I love how optimistic she is and even though she can’t park at least she can park and others can finish it up for her hehe

    Oh oh oh I love this type of pasta! I’ve never seen this shape before its great because it collects more sauce YUM! xox

  14. Congrats to Arabella!!! My kids were appalled that I had them call me when they arrived at school when driving alone for the first time…I think there was some sarcasm involved in their messages :/ Arabella’s a smart one…I’m glad my car has cameras that helps with parallel parking or I’d need MY boyfriend, er husband, to park for me 🙂

  15. Oh, the freedom when the kids start driving! I did worry more, but not enough to spoil my joy that I could keep doing what I was up to while they drove themselves everywhere:D

  16. Haha, well let’s hope Arabella figures out how to park eventually 🙂 This pasta looks soooo yummy!!! I can’t wait to make it.

  17. After a full year of driving lessons my daughter got her license- we actually made a complaint because there is no way we thought she should pass!! The test was considered by her driving school and I think they want good results regardless of good driver’s 🙁 She’s still under strict supervision and very short drives!
    Love the recipe Charlie, great idea to use the sausages as they’re so full of delicious flavour already, yummo xox

  18. Another great story, Charlie. Congrats to Arabella! Never mind the parking…

  19. G’day Charlie! Congrats on Arabella getting her license, true!
    Practice, practice, practice re parking too!
    YUM re your pasta!!! Love Barilla products!
    Cheers! Joanne

  20. Oh, the survival strategies of the young!

  21. Glad that The Fates smiled upon Arabella that day and let her skip the parking portion of the test she was sure to have problems with. I don’t envy parents of adolescents taking the care for the first few times. I’d be a nervous wreck, to be sure. Honestly, I wasn’t all that stress-free as the teenager doing the driving. 🙂
    I’ve visited the Barilla website a number of times, looking at their recipes. Their pasta products are among my favorites.

  22. Congrats to your daughter! I hope your daughter perfect her reverse parking soon. And I simply love the way you write, it seems like I am watching a movie in my mind, picturing how your daughter left the car for you to park. You always have me in a good laugh! Thanks for sharing this story and the recipe, happen to be one of my favourite too!

  23. Oh Charlie I feel for you. Luckily Skater talked his Father into lending him a car he is not using. I squirm every time I see him drive off. My car is tucked away safely. One of my favourite pastas is Casserece and I love it just like yours. Just a few delicious ingredients

  24. That’s hilarious! Yep sorted indeed 😛 Reverse parallel parking was so hideous for me. I wish I could’ve just said that it would have been sorted 😛

  25. Danielle says:

    Your stories are the best! And this pasta recipe is going to the top of my list.

  26. I only barely mastered reverse parking and parallel parking, and didn’t think I wanted to drive at all never mind sit my test, but somehow I did and I passed and since then I have actively avoided reverse parking and parallel parking and now I can’t do the former at all and the latter only in ideal circumstances! It’s terrible really – but I can park forwards and that helps. Good luck to Arabella with figuring out the parking challenges!

  27. You lost me after the Gabriele image… is that what you were looking at through the class!! Whew!

    I learnt to drive in the good old days too… when you had to be able to do everything capably and safely when in charge of a vehicle… I don’t know if I am ready to have two on the road yet :0! One is enough for me 🙂

  28. Congratulations to Arabella, fabulous news – fabulous meal too Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  29. Congrats to Arabella! It is a stressful time when our kids start driving — and we thought is was when they were babies was the only time we would lose sleep — HA! I love a simple pasta dish, it is when we use few ingredients they all shine. 🙂

  30. Congratulations to Arabella! And the pasta looks great!

  31. Learning to reverse park and parallel park does take more than a bit of practice! Glad Arabella passed the test. And I’m glad you posted this recipe – it does look extremely nice. Definitely something I want to make – thanks.

  32. Sigh. Parking does take a bit of practice! Lucky she has the boyfriend (bet you didn’t know he was driving your car, eh Charlie? :)). Pasta looks glorious, and congrats to Arabella for passing!

  33. Good morning, my Teen16 is going to try the test to get his Ls next week. Good luck ever driving your car again… Have been enjoying reading around, I must try a Barilla course one day, would love it. This pasta looks terrific.

  34. This was hilarious! I just love your stories! Congrats to Arabella!!! Don’t worry – she’ll learn how to park, eventually. And this pasta is pure goodness 🙂 Delicious!

  35. Well, once again, Charlie, you have me laughing out loud. Arabella just delights me. The idea of driving without confidence in parking–something I would have felt critical, has me in stitches. And you must be doing a lot better if you are now left to your two legs to get around! The sausage and leek pasta looks wonderful to me. It’s substantial without being too heavy. We eat a lot of pasta in the summer because it doesn’t require that much time over a hot stove! 🙂 Congratulations to Arabella, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Archie and “Rent.” Hope Alfie is doing well, too. I really do enjoy the adventures associated with your darlings!

  36. A hilarious post- Im currently getting my hours up before I go for my licence and like Arabella I cannot seem to reverse park! Love her attitude, although I may have to learn how to park just incase I get asked to! The pasta dish looks delicious, I will have to make this soon!!

  37. You were just looking for an excuse to post another photo of Gabriele weren’t you? Ah the confidence of the young – let’s hope Arabella learns to reverse park in her boyfriend’s car!

  38. Please pass on my congratulations to Arabella. When my daughter got her license (that’s how it’s spelled in the states) I was a bit concerned. I was right to be. In the first 6 months she hit nearly everything she went by and it was never her fault. No way was she getting my car. Her once beautiful celica was held together with plastic wire ties. One day (finally) she could drive and hasn’t had an issue since.

    I wish I’d had that pasta back then and maybe I wouldn’t have been so stressed. 🙂

  39. Haha! I couldn’t park from the back for a long time, but luckily most places allow me to park from head. It took me 2 months to get on to the freeway (way too fast that I couldn’t read the sign!). She’s get used to it! 🙂

    Ahhh yes, I WAS interested in the pasta! I need to get salted ricotta to make this. It looks so delicious!

  40. That’s hilarious! It was the same when I did my test, I only had to do a 20m reverse, although I can park. My mum can’t parallel park though…

  41. Congrats to Arabella … and thanks for this recipe that I printed!

  42. Congratulations!!!! What an important milestone…….I love your style of writing. Has me in splits, hehehe!! “Sorted”……..gotta love that!

  43. Reverse park?Backing up,I guess.Americans have to parallel (to the curb) park and are often pretty bad at it. I have never backed in to a parking place at a mall. I wish both of you a great deal of luck!

  44. delicious meal and congrats to your daughter eeek one day ours will be driving

  45. I still maintain you are a fabulous mum with all that you do for your kids. I guess A will get the hang of it eventually. How interesting to know there may be a whole generation of drivers out there who potentially can only do a three point turn OR a reverse park. More parking spots for us “Senior Citz” I guess, what’s not to love?

  46. Congrats Arabella! Be safe out there 🙂

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