A great pasta dish starts with a hearty ragu. I like to choose a style of pasta I know is going to work well with the type of sauce I’m making. Rigatoni will be perfect. This is my Rigatoni In A Heary Ragu.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 2 (6-quart) saucepots, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 rondeau (deep-sided braising/frying pan), chef’s knife, colander spoon, Microplane
1 pound of ground chicken (substitute ground turkey)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
1 large carrot peeled and chopped into thirds
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of chicken broth, low-sodium
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
1 1/2 cups of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly ground
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, julienned
Process the Pecorino Romano cheese. Transfer to a container set aside.
Start the *sofrito.
Prepare the vegetables for the food processor. Next, process the onion, carrot, and garlic cloves until finely minced then transfer to a medium-size bowl. Finally, process the almonds and roasted Piquillo peppers together until puréed. Add the Piquillo pepper purée to the same bowl, stir to combine. Set aside.
Directions For Toasted Pine Nuts:
In a dry sauté pan, over medium heat. add the pine nuts. Shake the pan over the heat until the nuts become fragrant and golden in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large deep-sided pan (rondeau) over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ground chicken, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Cook, breaking the meat up with the back of a wooden spoon, stirring frequently until chicken is fully cooked and brown in color, about 12 to 15 minutes.
In a large saucepot over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the prepared *sofrito, dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Stirring frequently, cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the chicken broth, cook allowing the liquid to reduce by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and brown sugar, stir to combine.
Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the pot, stir to combine. Bring up to a bubble reduce to medium-low heat, simmer for 1-hour stirring occasionally.
After 1 hour, have a large pot of salted boiling water on the stove ready to go. Drop the pasta. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente. Using a colander spoon (or a colander, drain first) transfer pasta to the pot containing the ragu. Gently stir to combine.
Remove from the heat, add fresh basil, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
To serve, ladle a good helping of the pasta into a porcelain bowl. Grate more Pecorino Romano over the top. There you have it, my Hearty Ragu With Rigatoni.
*Sofrito: A fragrant blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices used to season countless dishes, such as stews, beans, rice, and sauces.