It was a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Music was on.
Kitchen counter cleared.
All the ingredients were set out.
A new recipe to try. All the time I needed to concentrate on what I was doing with no interruptions. Optimum conditions. I was ready to cook!
It’s one of my favourite ways to spend time.
This is what happened.
Got the Italian sausage. This is without casing… so much easier.
While the sausage is cooking, prepare the aromatics.
Chop the carrot.
Quarter the onion.
Red pepper flakes.
Onion, carrot, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes, and some of the parsley went into the food processor.
Cooked Italian sausage meat. I opted to not brown the meat so the sauce would be more tender.
Added the ground pork, salt and pepper to the cooked sausage meat.
After the meat is was cooked, removed it from the pan and cooked the vegetables.
Added the tomato paste (mixed with 1 cup of water)…
…to the vegetables and cooked that until the liquid was almost all gone.
Put the meat back into the pot.
Along with the tomatoes and water.
Left it (mostly) alone for four hours.
At this point, the house was smelling amazingly good. I was sampling the meat sauce often and it was very, very tasty.
But it needed something else. Pasta.
Meat sauce was added to the pasta, along with some of the water the pasta was cooked in.
Worth all the time it took to cook.
Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù.
Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound mezzi rigatoni or penne rigate
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more
Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt. DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.