Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ragu Of Sweet Sausage, Porcinis and Asiago Cheese


Looking through pictures today I stumbled upon some favorite images from Tuscany; including my friend's ragu simmering on the stovetop of their tiny kitchen in the back of the grocery store owned by Ombretta's family.

Every treasured photo album of Tuscan vacations includes images of delicious foods proudly showcased by village markets, restaurants and chefs-including several images in my slide show. Deep in the Chianti region we dined on the chef's recommendation of a wild boar ragu and wonderfully crisp polenta.

Of course this is exactly the type of memory that triggers meals that I will recreate through-out the year-including tonight's dinner-Ragu of Sweet Sausage, Porcinis and Asiago Cheese.

Another building process, I start the ragu with olive oil and fresh sweet sausage-searing the sausage with the casing on to ensure tender meat. I sear the sausage for about 8 minutes-cool it down and remove the sausage from the casing.

I deglaze the pan with red wine and quickly saute chopped onion, celery and carrot before adding porcini water and dried herbs. I add a small 12 oz can of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of red wine, chopped porcinis and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Finally, I add 2 fresh-chopped tomatoes with no skin or seeds and the loose sausage and simmer for another 10 minutes, adding liquid as needed.

Seasonings are adjusted, pasta is drained and a small amount of grated pecorino cheese tossed with the pasta. I ladle the ragu sauce a cup at a time onto the steamy pasta until I have the right amount of coating.

A final grating of young Asiago cheese and a refresher on my red wine and I have dinner ready in under an hour!
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