Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pappardelle with Hot Sausage and Cream Ragu

Here is what we are having for dinner tonight. This is a delicious, straight-forward red sauce made especially rich by the addition of cream. Make sure you use heavy whipping milk or half & half allowed. While I prefer the wide surface of pappardelle pasta so the red sauce can coat as much noodle as possible, feel free to substitute your favorite pasta. Do not use whole wheat, however, as the taste clashes with tomato sauce. This recipe is a variation of one created by Emeril Lagasse* and it serves 4.

2 pounds of hot Italian sausage, casing removed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon fennel seed
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound pappardelle pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Add one quarter cup of salt to a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add sausage and onion. Break up sausage with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage is cooked through and onions are soft (approximately 8 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, wine and fennel seed. Bring to a boil then simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add pappardelle to large pot of boiling water and cook for one minute less than timing noted on package. When cooked, drain well, toss with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and divide between serving plates.
  5. Remove tomato sauce from stovetop. Add cream to tomato sauce. Stir to mix and ladle sauce over pasta. Sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Wine pairing: Nebbiolo, Sangiovese or Zinfandel

* Emeril's recipe calls for 1 pound of sausage and 1/4 pound pancetta. It does not include fennel seed or heavy whipping cream. 

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