July 20, 2009
Even though it's summer and been a balmy 80 degrees all week (hot for SF!)....I've been craving hearty, comfort foods like no other. Go figure. Specifically, I really wanted something authentically Italian. Something you could only get in the Tuscan countryside where the pasta is al dente, and the sauce is bursting with flavor and depth.
Well, this sucker hit the nail on the head. Obviously sausage and veal are no "light" foods, but what really gives this dish its comforting heartiness are the porcini mushrooms (YUMMY!), which add a really earthy, almost smoky element to it. Pour this meaty sauce over pappardelle noodles, and you have a definite home run. AC's already asking when we're going to rotate this into our menu again :D
Pasta With Veal, Sausage and Porcini Ragu
Bon Appetit, May 2000
Serves 6-8 (I would say more like 4-6, but maybe that's because we're pigs! :P )
1 C water
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1/4 C plus 2 T finely chopped Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 oz sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
8 oz veal stew meat, chopped (I used ground veal)
1/2 C dry red wine
2 14-oz cans chicken broth
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
2 bay leaves (I used 1/2 of a dried one)
2 t chopped fresh sage
1 t fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 lb pappardelle
Bring water and mushrooms to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Strain soaking liquid through sieve into a bowl and coarsely chop the mushrooms. Set both aside.
Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, 1/4 cup parsely and garlic. Saute around 5 minutes. Push vegetables to the edge of the skillet and add the sausage, cooking until brown about 5 minutes. Add veal and saute another 5 minutes. Add wine, bringing everything to a boil until the wine is almost evaporated. Add 1 C chicken broth, boiling for 10 minutes. Add mushroom liquid and simmer for 5 minutes until liquid is almost evaporated again. Mix in tomatoes with juices, bay leaves, sage, fennel seeds and porcini mushrooms. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes and adding remaining chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time. Stir occasionally for about 1-2 hours.
*I removed the bay leaf from the sauce after 30 min so its flavor wasn't too overpowering
** The longer you let the sauce simmer, the more the flavors are able to stew and come out!