I am in love with ragu. Shall I marry it? I made this ragu recently for lunch, and my eldest son says to me: "mom, this is the only thing I am willing to eat the rest of my life." His way of saying: make it again and again and again and again and again... in perpetuity. Now THAT is a compliment.
And my fullest compliments go to Mario Batali, who was the source and genius behind this particular jumble of ingredients. I don't always follow recipes precisely, but in this case it was so simple---it made it nearly impossible to deviate!
And the reward.... yum. with compliments.
This recipe will become a gold-standard, no doubt. A table-top show stopper in our family for years and years to come. And THAT makes me happy.
I confess: I didn't really realize that one of the best kept secrets to making a fantastic ragu was milk. It opened up my world. I have made many red sauces with wine---red and white. But usually it was broth or pasta-water that extended the flavors. I am genuinely enthralled and in love with the idea that 'milk does a ragu good.'
Mario's Pork Ragu (Molto Italiano p. 189) serves 6... or 4 if it includes really hungry adolescent boys.
1 T olive oil 1 T butter 1 large onion diced 1 LB Italian pork sausage, removed from casings 6 T tomato paste 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup whole milk S&P (coarse of course!) 1 LB pasta (fusilli or something with 'edges' to catch all the meat!) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
Heat oil and butter, cook onion 10 minutes. Cook sausage until lightly crisped, pour off some of the oil if desired. Add tomato paste and cook/stir for 8 minutes until it browns. Add wine and cook until evaporated; stir in milk, season with S&P and reduce to simmer. Cook another 10-15 min. Cook your pasta in boiling water with salt, until just al dente. Drain pasta (reserve cup full), add to sauce and toss for 1-2 minutes to heat through. Add a splash of pasta water, if needed, to loosen up the sauce. Divide and serve with Parmesan.