Saturday, February 27, 2010

Farfalle with Meat Ragu

This recipe is is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Cook. The original version calls for 1/2 pound of ground beef and 1/2 pound pork or veal. Although I am sure that version is quite tasty, I wanted to lower the fat content. The result was delish!

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 lb ground turkey sausage*
1/2 C full-bodied red wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
1/2 C tomato puree
1/2 C 2% milk**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 lg basil leaves cut into slivers
1 package farfalle pasta
1/2 C freshly grate Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and cook for 1 minute. Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring to break up any chunks, until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, puree, and cream and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the suace is thickened and slightly reduced, 1/2 to 1 hour*, or more. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired, then stir in basil. To make the ragu ahead, let the sauce cool, then store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

About 10 minutes before sauce is ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook until tender.

Pour 2 cups of the sauce into a warmed large, shallow bowl. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Toss to coat the pasta evenly and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon more sauce on top and serve with additional cheese, if desired.

*If using the beef and pork version, cooking time may vary.
**Original version calls for 3/4 C heavy (double) cream

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