Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quick Sausage Ragu

This is not a true Italian ragu, but a quick version with a cream base.  This can be cooked up in about 20 minutes total and makes a hearty meal in a flash. Here it is served over paperadelli pasta.  Notice that the recipe calls for pasta water.  After your pasta has cooked for a while, ladle out about a half a cup to reserve.
This allows you to control the consistency, for those who prefer a thinner sauce on their pasta.

1/2 lb pasta of your choice
1 lb sweet Italian Sausage (bulk or if in links, remove from casings before cooking)
1/4 cup prepared tomato sauce  OR 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1/4 cup pasta water
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pasta water, reserved, to thin sauce.

Boil about 4 cups of water in a large pot.  Salt slightly.
Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Slice open each of the sausages and remove from casing if needed.  Break up the sausage in to small bits and brown in the large skillet until all pink is gone.
Boil pasta while the sauce cooks.
Add garlic and tomato sauce to cooked sausage, stirring to mix.  Turn the heat down slightly.
Add heavy cream, stirring once again.
Add Parmesan, taste, and season as needed.
Allow to simmer for about 3 more minutes or until cream sauce thickens slightly, add pasta water, several teaspoons at a time, if needed, to thin.
Drain pasta. You can either toss the pasta in the sauce or serve it over and let your diners toss it themselves.

Serves 3 (or 2 very hungry people)

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