Recipe Review: Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu

Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu

Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu

This recipe was on the cover of the Pasta February 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  A soffritto of carrots, celery, onion, tomato paste forms the base of this ragu with Italian sausage and ground pork.  The sauce is slowly simmered for four hours, making it a good Sunday afternoon project.  However, I thought the deliciousness was in the good, not great range.  It does not beat my previous favorite version of a spicy Italian sausage tomato sauce from Andrew Carmellini (Rigatoni Pugliese).  At what point does one stop trying new versions of the same basic recipe and stick to what they know is really good?

Cost: about $10

Servings: 6 – 8

Taste: three out of five stars (good)

Time: five hours (one hour active time)

Level of Difficulty: not difficult, but time-consuming

Nutrition: fresh vegetables and tomatoes, but lots of pork

Make again: no

Link to recipe here.

Link to Rigatoni Pugliese review here.

Recipe Review: Rigatoni Pugliese (Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage, Chickpeas, and Broccoli Rabe)

This hearty dish is Italian comfort food perfect for cool fall and winter evenings, from Andrew Carmellini’s Urban Italian cookbook.  The rich, creamy sauce is made without the use of heavy cream or butter.  The secret is that prepared tomato sauce is thickened with pureed chickpeas that add both flavor and texture.  I have tried making Chef Carmellini’s basic tomato sauce in the past, but was not successful – I think that recipe calls for too much olive oil.  Instead, I used my go-to basic tomato sauce, from Todd English’s Figs cookbook, as the base for this sauce.  Cooking takes less than 30 minutes – brown some spicy Italian sausage, puree chickpeas in a blender, and simmer with tomato sauce for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil water, blanch the broccoli rabe for 90 seconds, then saute in olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and chickpeas.  Boil the rigatoni, toss with the sauce, and top with the broccoli rabe, chickpeas, and grated parmesan or pecorino.  The recipe calls for adding additional butter and olive oil when tossing the pasta with the sauce, but I think the sauce is definitely good enough to stand on its own.

Link to recipe here.

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