I eat a lot of pasta throughout the year, most of which is consumed during the winter months. I find few things more comforting than a piping hot bowl of fresh pasta. The smell of the cooking sauce fills the house with an intoxicating scent all day. The windows get all steamy from the bubbling pots on the stove top… It’s exactly what I want on a cold winter evening.
The mushrooms in this ragu are my favorite part. They bring additional meaty texture, while soaking up the fennel and spiciness of the sausage. The butter, tomato paste, beef stock and wine add to the richness – all going beautifully with the sausage and mushrooms. This sauce is so hearty, flavorful and delicious, yet doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.
Using fresh pasta is what really makes this ragu standout. It’s easy to make your own pasta and 100% worth the effort. I highly recommend it. The sauce absorbs into every piece of pasta… Pulling all the elements together. The bite of the fresh pasta, paired with sausage crumbles, sliced mushrooms and lots of freshly grated Parmesan is total perfection.
Fennel Sausage & Mushroom Ragu with Fresh Pappardelle
1 pound fresh pappardelle
8 ounces fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound mild Italian sausage, crumbled
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 15 ounce can Italian tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup hot milk
salt + pepper
Parmesan or Pecorino, freshly grated
Slice mushrooms, dice onions and remove sausage from casing, if necessary.
Using a large skillet, add the butter and olive oil and cook sliced mushrooms for 2-3 minutes, until they just begin to brown. Remove from heat and add sausage crumbles. Cook sausage for 3-5 minutes or until nearly cooked through. Add the onions and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated.
Add mushrooms, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and beef stock. Mix together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the hot milk when the sauce has thickened, cook for an additional 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut pasta into pappardelle or remove store bought fresh pasta from the fridge.
Boil water for cooking pasta. When boiling, salt water and cook pasta for 1 minute. Drain pasta and put back in pot. Add sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino and serve immediately.