If you're a pasta lover like me, you may be interested in a newly released cookbook from Sara Jenkins of NYC's Porchetta and Porsena restaurants, and her mother, acclaimed food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins. The book, The Four Seasons of Pasta, contains a comprehensive collection of 120 rustic pasta dishes, beautifully photographed and conveniently organized by season. One of my favorite recipes from the book, and one that I can't stop making, is this flavorful ragu. It's reminiscent of a bolognese sauce, but with a rich woodsy flavor that comes from the addition of dried porcini mushrooms. Unlike bolognese, this ragu doesn't contain wine or milk and is far simpler to make.
Sagna Riccia, a long flat pasta with a ruffled edge, also called Mafadine, is the prefered pasta shape for this sauce. But if you can't find it, ( I ordered it on Amazon), pappardelle will work nicely too.
Tuscan Wild Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Sagna Riccia
Reprinted by permission with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company
- 1-1/2 oz. dried porcini (preferably imported)
- 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
- 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juice, chopped
- 1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
- 3 or 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. pasta, preferably Sagna Riccia, also known as Mafaldine, lasagnotte, or Pappardelle
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to pass, if desired
Place the dried porcini in a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Set aside for 30 minutes to soften, then drain, reserving the mushroom mixture. Rinse the mushrooms briefly and chop coarsely.
Open the sausage skins with a sharp knife and remove the insides. Crumble the sausage meat into a heavy skillet and set over medium low heat. If the sausage is very dry, add a tablespoon of olive oil; otherwise, saute the sausage slowly in its own fat until it has changed color. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, and parsley and continue cooking until the vegetables have softened. Add the tomatoes and their juice, breaking the tomatoes up with your hands or the side of a spoon. Add the thyme and rosemary and allow the sauce to simmer very gently uncovered until it is thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Now stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and the chopped mushrooms. Continue cooking until the ragu is very thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while you cook your pasta. This sauce can also be made ahead and added to the pasta just before serving.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta until it's al dente. Add 1 cup of ragu to the bottom of your serving bowl, then drain the pasta and turn it immediately into the bowl. Add another ladleful of ragu and turn the pasta in the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
Don't miss a single post CLICK HERE to subscribe