Pasta with Sweet Sausage Ragù


Ragù Di Carne (Sweet Sausage Ragù):
5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pound Italian-style sweet sausage, out of the casing
⅓ cup red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken or beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound pasta: radiatori, rigatoni or penne rigate
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste


Serves 4

To prepare the Ragù Di Carne:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf and basil, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Raise the heat to high and add the sausage; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, breaking the sausage up into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium, and let cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the tomato sauce and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring twice.

If you like your sauce thicker, remove the cover of the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. When it’s done, remove the bay leaf and taste for salt and pepper.

To serve:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and put it back into the pot. Add half of the sauce and stir well while cooking over medium heat. Serve the pasta in individual dishes; top each serving with some of the remaining sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese as per your liking.