Sausage Ragu

The finished product
The finished product

For those of you in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, I’m sure you’re aware that we reached a whopping 8 degrees last night—how fun.  In times like these, I need something that reminds me of a stew, but a little less time consuming.  So, it is to say, I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dishes, sausage ragu.  This dish is made of some of my favorite fall vegetables and really speaks of what I think winter food to be all about.

To start:

1 bulb of fennel, chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 fresno chili

1 garlic clove, grated

1 pound of Italian sausage

1 pound of spicy Italian sausage

1 box of rigatoni pasta

1 small can of tomato paste

1 large sprig of rosemary

3 cups red wine

2 cups of grated parmesan

Salt and pepper

Coat a heavy-bottomed pan with olive oil and turn the heat on high.  In the meantime, toss all of the vegetables-except for the garlic clove-in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have a rough paste.  From there, empty the contents into the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook the crap out of it.  No, seriously, you want to completely dehydrate these vegetables and allow them to cook completely while forming a beautiful crust at the bottom of the pan.  After about 10 minutes of cooking, stirring and scraping, you’ll want to reduce the heat to medium and grate in the whole clove of garlic.  From there, stir the mixture around and allow the garlic to cook for about 30 seconds—this is when you realize you’re doing something right.  Now, add the whole can of tomato paste and stir it around to loosen up in the bottom of the pan.  Next, add the 3 cups of red wine and start scraping to deglaze the pan entirely.  Then, add both sausages and break up until the meat is finely minced.  Now, add about 2 cups of water to the pan and toss in the rosemary sprig—season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer with the lid half on for about 8 minutes.

Simmering away!
Simmering away!

At this point, your entire house should smell like an Italian restaurant.  While the sauce is simmering away, take this time to get your pasta cooked off.  After the 8 minutes has passed, add 1 cup of the parmesan and stir until thickened.  Next, drain the pasta completely and toss back into the pan that you cooked it in.  Now, for the best part, ladle the ragu into the pan with the pasta and add the remaining parmesan.  This will really help everything adhere to the pasta and impart an amazing flavor.  Last, spoon the pasta into a bowl and dig in.  This dish really defines everything I enjoy about winter.  It gives you a deep warmth-both from the chili and the temperature-and helps you forget about the cold around you.  For all you pasta lovers out there, this is the perfect dish for any occasion, but especially for those frigid nights.

Enjoy!

Leave a Reply