Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bolognese-Inspired Red Sauce

Hello my dears! I have been sick for the past few days, and also started a part-time gig as a barista at my local Starbucks. So, to keep your mouths watering this week, I present to you my wonderfully and culinarily talented husband. Here in his own words is a fantastic and rustic pasta dish. I hope you enjoy...in the meanwhile, I will be resting. Take it away babe...

Ok...So, I was going for a classic Bolognese when I started, but I realized I had no tomato paste. I subbed in a large can of regular tomato sauce and used whatever else I had on hand. I also experimented with cooking the pasta about halfway in salty water and finishing it in the sauce itself. The result was delicious, and pretty similar to a Bolognese, so I thought I'd contribute it to my wife's blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


1 medium onion, peeled
1 green bell pepper, seeded
3 medium carrots, skinned
3 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup kosher salt (use most in pasta water)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 26 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup half and half
1 pound Italian sausage
1 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 or 4 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound penne rigate pasta
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

Roughly chop the onion, pepper, carrots and celery, and add these to the food processor along with the garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage (if you are using links, remove the skin) and using a wooden spoon or spatula, break it into small pieces. Once it is cooked most of the way through, add the chopped aromatic vegetables from the food processor, a pinch of the salt and all of the black and red pepper. Saute until soft. Then add all of the tomato sauce, half and half, red wine and chicken stock and bring up to medium heat. Add the Italian seasoning and bay leaves and simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the rest of the salt and pasta, and then cook until VERY al dente, about 5 or 6 minutes depending on the brand. Bring the sauce up to a slow boil, drain the pasta (but don't rinse it!) and then add it to the sauce. Cook it the rest of the way - about 3 or 4 minutes - in the sauce, stirring constantly. It should absorb a lot of the liquid and a lot of the flavor of the sauce as it finishes cooking. I found cooking it this way accomplishes two things: it adds flavor to the pasta and thickness to the sauce so that it should stick very well to the pasta - like that Bolognese I wanted when I started cooking. Serve on plates, or a large platter if going for a family-style presentation, and garnish with the parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Kelly Herman said...

Sounds delicious! You two are awesome. What a team you make!

The Cook said...

Thanks, Kel! We try. :)

Anonymous said...

Delicious!!! Maybe a few less red pepper flakes, though I like it spicy. I also used a combination of mild and hot sausage so maybe it wasn't just the pepper flakes that made this spicy! The sauce really did stick to the pasta with your cooking method. Thanks for sharing and keep those recipes coming!