Monday, January 2, 2017

Mr. Hawthorne Prepares Pasta With Sausage Ragu.

Mr. Hawthorne has been piddling around in the kitchen these days actually being productive.  Here's a delicious dish he's been making lately that we've really enjoyed - pasta with sausage ragu.  It's perfect for this rainy, cold, gray January weather.  At least it's rainy, cold, and gray as I type this.  This is the Outer Banks though, so it could be 70° and still January when you read this.
 It's froggy out today.

And it's getting froggier.

It's a good day for a nap.

Pasta With Sausage Ragu
1/4 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 16-oz. jar home-canned tomatoes
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 TB tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp homegrown dried oregano (way more potent than store bought)
1/3 cup red wine

Pasta - Mr. Hawthorne used 1/2 bag + no-yolk noodles.

You want to use a wide noodle, like tagliatelle or pappardelle to stand up to this meaty sauce.

grated Parmesan cheese

In a processor, give fennel, onion, and fennel seeds about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Transfer to separate bowl.
Process tomatoes until smooth, about 10 seconds, and transfer to a second bowl.
Pulse sausage until finely chopped - about 10 pulses.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery.
Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until all liquid has evaporated and meat begins to sizzle,  about 10-15 minutes. 
Add fennel mixture, a bit of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  The fond on the bottom of the pan should be browned.  The fond is the goodie bits with all the flavor.
Add tomato paste, garlic, and oregano.  Cook, stirring constantly until nice and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in wine, scraping up the goodie bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about a minute.  Add  processed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, until mixture starts to thicken.  A wooden spoon should leave a trail through the sauce.   If too thick, thin with a little water.  You don't want the sauce to thin.  You want it to stick to the noodles.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and keep warm.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain pasta, toss with sauce, add a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil (if desired), and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

  You wouldn't believe all the coins I rolled that night.
$50 in quarters
$30 in dimes
$8 in nickles
$31.50 in pennies

Then, Mr. Hawthorne mentioned to me, "You know what?  This would be really good if you made your own pasta." 

So I did.

And he was right.

Homemade pasta is de bomb.

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