Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu

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Whenever I talk about a “ragù”  it’s usually a meat-based sauce served with some type of pasta. In this case, I thought that using the soft pillowy texture of a potato Gnocchi would be perfect. This is my Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu.

Let’s start with the ragù.

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Most likely than not, Porcini mushrooms come in dried form. First, the rehydration process of the mushrooms. I like to use unsalted beef broth for the extra flavor it gives the Porcini mushrooms

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (re-hydrating mushrooms)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes (includes the cooking time for browning sausage)
Total Cook Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: 3-quart saucepan, 10-inch non-stick sauté pan, 12-inch rondeau pan, 5-quart saucepot, Microplane for grating
Yields: 4 servings

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, bulk style
1 4.5-ounce package of dried Porcini mushrooms
2 cups of unsalted beef broth
1 cup of mushroom stock (the liquid from the re-hydrated Porcini mushrooms)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 package of store-bought potato gnocchi, substitute homemade
1-1/4 cups of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of heavy cream
flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle over each serving)

Start by re-hydrating the Porcini mushrooms over medium-low heat with unsalted beef broth, 15 to 20 minutes until plump. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and transfer them to a cutting board reserving the mushroom liquid. Next, finely dice the mushrooms placing them into a small bowl.

In a rondeau pan over medium heat add the Italian sausage to the pan breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until sausage is completely brown, with no pink, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the grease by using a strainer or a slotted spoon, transferring the sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel.

While the sausage is browning, dice up the onion and mince the garlic, set aside.

Using the same rondeau pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir and let that soften and the onions become translucent 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the chopped Porcini mushrooms, minced garlic, and the fresh thyme leaves, stir to combine.

At this point, add the gnocchi into a pot of boiling salted water.

Pour in the mushroom stock and reduce until a couple of tablespoons of the liquid is left in the pan. Add back in the browned of sausage and crushed tomatoes stir through and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream, stir through.

When it the Gnocchi begins floating they’re done. Using a colander-style spoon transfer the gnocchi into the pan with the ragù, stir gently to combine. Turn the heat to off then add in the grated cheese, again, stir to combine. Garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.

Ladle the Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragù into individual porcelain serving bowls. Top with more of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

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Hearty Ragu With Rigatoni

2014-03-28 17.05.52This dish came to me while remembering some of the pasta dishes that my grandmother and mother made. Both of their versions of meaty pasta dishes we so delicious that I thought I should have my own. First I start with the sofrito,  which is the base to my sauce. Now I remember there was not a lot of measuring when my family used to do this. So here it goes. I put these ingredients into a food processor, but I chopped them up a little to help the processor out. 1 large carrot peeled, 1 large onion, 4 garlic cloves, and then processed  those. Then I took a small jar of roasted red peppers and a small handful blanched almonds and processed them. The almonds give the final sauce a texture somewhat like a Romesco would. This sauce is pretty complex but, I promise you won’t taste the nuts. 2014-03-28 16.12.072014-03-28 16.14.442014-03-28 16.22.30 HDR I placed all of my sofrito in a large pot and added 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. I sauteed all of this until the veggies just started to soften and then added 1 cup of chicken stock to that and let this all reduce and absorb the liquid. Then I added 1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes to that and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, and let this all simmer together.2014-03-28 16.24.27 In a separate pan I sauteed 1 pound of ground turkey with 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds, and I tablespoon of Kosher salt, and a teaspoon of black pepper until the turkey was nice and brown in color.2014-03-28 16.18.55  After the turkey was cooked I added it to the sofrito.  Then I let this all simmer together on med heat for around 1 hour stirring occasionally so all the flavors could marry together.2014-03-28 16.26.53 After about an hour the sauce will thicken and absorb a lot of the liquid and that’t what you want. While this is happening and the sauce is where I want it, I start cooking the Rigatoni. 2014-03-28 16.47.06 I cook the pasta short of it’s cooking time on the box because when I add it to the ragu it will continue cooking and then will be at the perfect place when I serve the dish. I then add fresh basil and grate on some Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and sprinkle on freshly chopped basil from my garden. This dish is so good and so hearty, you’ll want to call your friends over so you can share it. Serve it with some cheesy garlic bread they will ask you for seconds.2014-03-28 17.05.52

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