Pasta with Sausage Ragu

  • 1/2-1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb cored and chopped
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 lbs tomatoes (or 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 Tb Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 pound pappardelle, egg noodles, or other pasta of choice
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

If using fresh tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400.  Cut tomatoes lengthwise and arrange on a jellyroll pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  Transfer to food processor and pulse until smooth.   If using canned tomatoes, pulse those in a food processor until smooth.  Proceed as follows:

Place fennel, onion, and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot.  Add sausage and cook until all liquid has evaporated, 10-15 minutes.  Add fennel mixture and cook until softened (5 minutes).  Add tomato paste and oregano and stir constantly until fragrant.

Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.  Add 1 cup of water and the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Boil water for the pasta and cook as directed.  Toss cooked pasta with sauce.  To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


adapted from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2016

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