November 28, 2011

Sausage and Fennel Ragu

I am not going to lie - my first trip to the grocery store after my CSA had ended was pretty exciting. I was craving fennel like it was my job; into the cart! The cauliflower looked great; join the fennel in the cart! Sweet potatoes are on sale; excellent, into the cart! I also haven't been eating much meat, and was kind of craving it, so I picked up a half a pound of sweet Italian sausage. This ragu from The Kitchn was the perfect thing to make with the fennel and sausage. My adaptation is below.

Sausage and Fennel Ragu
Adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 10+ cups

Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 sweet onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced (I am still using CSA garlic and the cloves are gigantic!)
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I used Muir Glen organic because I had a coupon)
1 26.46 oz box Pomi strained tomatoes (I have seen these popping up at my local grocery stores and was immediately intrigued because they are Italian; after using them I am infatuated as well!)
Generous pinch of Giada's Tuscan Herb Mix
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooked pasta, to serve (I used cavatappi)
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve

1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Crumble in the sausage and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until browned, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot frequently (use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into bite-sized crumbles). Add the onion, garlic, fennel and carrot. Mix thoroughly and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to be tender.

2. Add the diced tomatoes and the box of strained tomatoes. Stir to combine, raise the heat back to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the dried herbs, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, lower the heat to a bare simmer and partially cover the pot with the lid. Cook for at least an hour, stirring occasionally and scrapping the bottom of the pot.

3. After an hour, the ragu should be thick and rich. Taste for seasoning and serve over hot pasta.

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