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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tomato Sausage Ragu over Campanelle Pasta

 Pasta comes in more shapes and sizes than people!  And for a good reason; each shape is meant to hold various sauces. Smaller, thin, lighter pastas are best with simple oil based sauces while bigger shapes, which often have a bowl to them, are meant for heartier, chunky sauces.  And whimsical shapes amuses kids while enticing them to eat.

As much as I enjoy making fresh pasta at home, there are shapes that just cannot be created at home. Campanelle pasta is a super fun, funnel-like shape with ruffled edges, like little chewy flowers in your bowl.

Ragu is really just a meat sauce, today it's a sausage meat sauce.  A tomato, wine and sausage meat sauce packed with flavor from just a handful of ingredients. A simple sauce that does most of the work just by simmering for a couple of hours.  Fun pasta and one meaty sauce makes one fat and happy-shaped eater.

Tips and Techniques: If you can't find campanelle pasta, simply substitute another fun shape like fusilli or ziti or farfalle.

Tomato Sausage Ragu over Campanelle Pasta

3 spicy turkey sausages
1 tbls garlic powder
Canola oil
1 medium sized onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup broth
1/2 bottle of dry red wine (about 3 cups)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice (16 oz)
1 can whole tomatoes, with juice (16 oz)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Begin by removing the casings from the sausage, crumble them into a cast iron pan with fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, and a little salt. Cook until just done; add a little canola oil to the bottom of the pan to help get them started. Remove the crumbled sausage from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add in the carrots and continue to cook until both the onions and the carrots begin turn a caramelized brown on the edges. Add in the garlic and a few grinds of fresh black pepper and continue to cook another  2 -3 minutes. By this point you should have a deep colored onions and carrots and the flavor should be filling the house; and some of the onions and carrots may be sticking to the bottom of the pan, this is ok!  The next step is to deglaze the pan which removes all those super tasty, browned little morsels from the bottom.

To deglaze, you simply add in a little liquid and move it around the pan using a wooden spoon, easily scraping off the deeply caramelized pieces from the bottom.  To do this add in only 1 cup of wine.  Once you feel the spoon move freely across the bottom, add in another cup of wine and the broth. Simmer this for about 1 hour or until the liquids reduce by half.

Add in the remaining wine, tomatoes (smash the whole tomatoes by squeezing with your hand or with the back of the spoon) and the sausage, cover, simmer on low for about 2 hours. Remove the lid, add in salt and pepper and simmer about 20 minutes or until ragu is reaches desired thickness. Add salt and pepper if needed.

The pasta will take about 10 minutes to cook, start a large pan of water about the time you uncover the ragu.  Always use cold water, it is the cleanest and will taste the best.  Once the water is boiling, add in a good sprinkling of salt as this is your only chance to salt the pasta.  Add in the pasta, stir immediately and test often.  The pasta should be al dente, still firm to the the bite.  Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Toss the pasta back in the same pan and add in scoops of the ragu and a drizzle of the pasta water, toss.
Serve immediately with a fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

  1. My parents are from Italy. I thought I'd heard of every pasta shape imaginable, then came campanelle. I can just taste how the al dente cones hold the flavor of the sauce.
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