Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle

This sounds like a fancy recipe but it's really simple. And best of all, it comes out to under $2.50 a serving! I saw this recipe in an older copy of Cook's Country Magazine, from October of 2016.

I live in a remote area and had a little trouble sourcing a fresh fennel bulb for the recipe, but it was definitely worth the effort to locate this wonderful ingredient. Fennel is the slight anise-like flavor used in Italian sausage. My picky-eater of a husband loved this, as did both my boys.

With the original recipe calling for either using 2 lb of pasta or freezing half the sauce for a later date, I decided to go ahead and pick up extra pasta. Once the sauce was finished however, I realized that I wouldn't need 2 lb of pasta since we like our pasta pretty saucy.

Not only is this recipe absolutely delicious, it is actually fairly cheap. I picked up the sausage on sale at Kroger but everything else was regular price and no coupons were used.

Shopping list:
2 lb bulk, Sweet Italian sausage - $2.50/lb
Fennel bulb - $2
2 lb pappardelle - $2.48/lb
Fennel seeds - $2.71
Canned tomatoes - $2
tomato paste - $1
wine - $3.46
oregano - $1
total = $23.13 for at least 10 servings comes out to $2.31 per serving.....not bad for a delicious meal!

½ fennel bulb, stalks discards, bulb cored and chopped coarse
½ onion, chopped coarse
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 lbs bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
¾ cup red wine
1 ½ lb pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Pulse fennel, onion, and fennel seeds in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or mince using a knife).

2. In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat, until all the liquid has evaporated and meat begins to brown.

3. Add fennel mixture, and 1/2 tsp. salt to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.

4. Meanwhile, process tomatoes in now empty processor until smooth, about 10 seconds; transfer to second bowl. (Or toss the tomatoes in the blender or use an immersion blender on them.)

5. Add tomato paste, garlic, and oregano, stirring constantly until fragrant.

6. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, cook until wine is mostly evaporated. Add 1 cup of water and pureed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered until thickened, about 45 minutes. A spoon will leave a trail when dragged through the sauce.

7. In a large pot, bring 8 quarts of water to a boil. Add pasta and 1 tbsp. of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until pasta reaches desired doneness. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and reserved cooking water to pasta and toss to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. 


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