Pappardelle al Ragú Ricco

David Priestley

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, place in a bowl and cover with warm/hot water for 20 minutes.
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp Olive Oil (preferably a medium extra virgin olive oil)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium-size stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, removed from its casing and finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
3 cups canned whole tomatoes with their juice (not puree).  Put through a strainer or food mill.
1 cup chicken broth preferably homemade
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup cream
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano

To prepare the meat sauce, remove the mushrooms and strain with a paper towel or cheesecloth.  Line a strainer with two paper towels and strain the mushroom water into a bowl to get rid of the sandy deposits.  Set the the strained water aside to be used later.  Rinse the mushrooms well under cold running water.  

Next, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook.  Stir until the vegetables are lightly golden (about 5 minutes).  Add the veal and sausage and cook, stir and break up the meat with your spoon until it loses the raw color (about 4-5 minutes).  Add the wine and cook until it is almost all reduced (about 2-3 minutes).  Rough chop the porcini mushrooms and add with 1 cup of the mushroom water.  Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by half (1-2 minutes).  Stir in the tomatoes and broth, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the skillet and cook over low heat 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring a few times.  When done, the sauce should have a medium-thick consistency.  (If too dry, add some more broth or a bit more of the mushroom water).  Add the cream and cook a few minutes longer.

Use with high quality semolina pappardelle noodles.  Cook until they are tender but still firm to the bite, al dente.  Drain the pasta and place into a large serving bowl.  Add half of the ragu mix and combine well.  Spoon the pasta into individual serving bowls and top each serving bowl with a bit of additional sauce, and finish with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmigiano.  


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