Fall Pasta: Tortellini with Sausage & Mushroom Ragu
Though summer cooking is much more fun and produce is abundant, fall is a lovely season to cook (and eat!) as well.
Squash, apples, woodsy mushrooms and heartier foods come into play, and I love them all.
Time to make some freezer meals for the lean days ahead......if you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you know "winter is coming".
This is a hearty "ragu", made with good locally made Italian sausage and any mushroom you like.
Unfortunately, the husband dislikes mushrooms, so he picked them out of the dish, but they are a must in this dish because they give off such flavor and depth.
I served this over fresh tortellini (Giovanni Rana makes the best tortellini, in my opinion).
This is one of my favorites, and it's also delicious over polenta.
Sausage & Mushroom Ragu: (adapted from Food & Wine)
1 lb. of pasta, orecchiette, fusilli or tortellini
1/2 cup of dried porcini or morel mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed and crumbled
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced thin
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 thinly sliced shallots sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup of beef broth (you can use red wine or chicken stock too)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
fresh thyme or parsley
Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water until softened. Rinse and pat dry; reserve the soaking liquid (you will use this in the ragu).
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the sausage meat and carrot, cover and cook over moderate heat until starting to brown.
Remove the sausage and carrots with a slotted spoon and put aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the soaked rehydrated porcini mushrooms and butter to the skillet, season with kosher salt and pepper and cook until soft.
Add in the shallots and white button mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until the button mushrooms are soft and golden brown.
Pour in the cup of porcini or morel soaking liquid and the beef stock or wine. Bring to a boil, then scrape the bottom of the pan and turn down to a simmer.
Add the sausage meat back into the skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme sprigs.
This is great over any shape pasta or on polenta.
The ragu also freezes well.