Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sweet Sausage Ragu - Ragù Di Carne

An easy and flavorful skillet ragu made with sweet or hot Italian sausage, a mirepoix of veggies in a light broth and tomato base with pasta.
An easy and flavorful skillet ragu made with sweet or hot Italian sausage, a mirepoix of veggies in a light broth and tomato base with pasta.

Sweet Sausage Ragu - Ragù Di Carne

I have been cutting back on expenses this past year. We rarely go out or do social events outside of family events anymore - been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. We don't even eat out much, so home entertainment and wireless services were the first two to get trimmed back.

Since ditching expensive satellite television, I've been watching a lot of antenna TV. It's not completely reliable though, so I did eventually enroll in a streaming service, of which there are many to choose from these days. Far less expensive, I have found that I actually like that far better than cable or satellite. Unfortunately though, when we ditched our expensive cell service, we also lost our unlimited internet, so I had to start budgeting the streaming time.

Besides ION Television and other channels showing more wholesome content than anything in this era, I discovered PBS Create and it's one channel I've really been enjoying, especially the cooking shows. Nick Stellino has a show that until I started watching antenna TV, I didn't even know existed. One day, I saw him prepare a sweet sausage ragu and being the pasta lover that I am, I wanted to give it a try to add another easy pasta skillet meal to my repertoire. I used his base recipe with a few of my own changes, and it turned out wonderful. Besides the time that it needs to slow simmer, it's also pretty quick to make.

What exactly is a ragu? You'll see a wide range of differing opinions across the net on that, but it's my understanding that Ragu comes from Bologna, known mostly in its form Bologna ragu, or Ragu ala Bolognese. Recently on another PBS Create segment, Lydia Bastianich {affil link} said that ragu and bolognese, except for higher ratios of sauce and meats, are essentially the same, so I'll take her word for it.

Typically a ragu in Italian cooking involves mirepoix, a mixture of onion, celery and carrot, some kind of meat, and a light sauce consisting of tomatoes, sometime sauce, and sometimes a stock or broth. Others, like Rachael Ray, make a similar dish using rigatoni and calls it sausage and riggies, though more often it seems, chicken is used, and depending on the recipe, seems to be a bit more heavy in the tomatoes and creamier.

Although I do love me some tomatoes, I like that this dish is not super heavy with them. Italian sausage is typically used, but remember those sausage wheels I used to make that yummy Sausage Reuben (aka Five Finger Banjo Picker) sandwich awhile back? I still have some of them in the freezer, so I used those. The red pepper flakes give a nice hit of heat with a sweet sausage like that, though you probably wouldn't need them if you're using a hot Italian sausage instead.

Usually served with pasta, most often rigatoni or penne, I used rotini here because I get Dreamfields Healthy Carb Living spaghetti, elbows and rotini on subscription, so it's what I always have on hand. There's that Fasta Pasta again! {affil links}

As always, scroll on past these step by step pictures for the full recipe text and a printable. Here's how to make it.

For this dish, I wanted to mince the miepoix, so that it sort of melted into the sauce, so I used one of my handy dandy pull choppers. {affil link} The more you pull, the smaller the mince. This gets used a lot of my kitchen too!

From there it's just sauteeing the veggies and sausage, adding a splash of wine to deglaze and cook to evaporate that down before stirring in the broth, tomato sauce, basil, parsley, bay leaf and pepper flakes, simmering, adding pasta, and a little Parmesan. Finish with a pat of butter and plate, offering grated Parmesan at the table.

For more of my favorite skillet meals, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

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Recipe: Sweet Sausage Ragu

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min

Total time: 1 hour 40 min
Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2-1/2 cups dry short cut pasta (rigatoni, rotini, radiatori or penne)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive oil, canola, butter, bacon drippings)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and minced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into smaller pieces. Add the wine and let cook until mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, tomato sauce, basil, parsley, bay leaf and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring several times. Add pasta and grate a little Parmesan over pasta, add butter and stir in until melted. Taste and add salt and pepper only if needed. Transfer pasta to serving platter or individual shallow bowls; garnish with a little more parsley and Parmesan.

Cook's Notes: Substitute ground turkey, or ground beef and red wine with beef broth.


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Check These Recipes Out Too Y’all!

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Posted by on September 29, 2018
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