Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Sausage Ragu

Tonight marks the second time I've made this recipe from the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Clean Eating Magazine, and when I looked back at the page for the recipe, I noticed that I first made it exactly one month ago, on 10-30-09. Tasty tradition! My substitutions are in parentheses.

Turkey Sausage Ragu
Serves 4 (generously!)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 tsp dried)
8oz spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings discarded (I used 3 links, Jennie-O brand)
1/4 tsp chile flakes (I omitted this)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (Pinot Noir leftover from the weekend)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, torn (1 tsp dried)
1 large bunch kale, cleaned and trimmed, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
8oz whole wheat pappardelle, fettucine, or tagliatelle pasta (9oz Trader Joe's brown rice fusilli)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (omitted)
Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish (Parmesan)


1. (Set a pot of salted water over medium heat to begin boiling for the pasta while you prep the rest) Add 1Tbsp oil, onion, and thyme to a separate large pot over medium heat. Stir well, cover, and cook until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Uncover pot, add sausage, chile flakes, and garlic. Continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Off the heat, deglaze the pan by adding the wine. Return to heat and allow to reduce for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, and kale. Stir well (this was difficult for me at this point, so I didn't really bother), cover, and cook 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in additional 2Tbsp oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. When the sauce is almost finished (when 10min remain), add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain well and toss with sausage mixture. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil (I omitted), a sprinkling of parslely, and freshly grated cheese.

I love this meal. It's very hearty and has an awesome, well-rounded flavor, even without adding salt, pepper, parsley, or the additional oil at the end. Using kale gives it a nice crunch, though you could substitute spinach if kale is not your thing. When I made this last month, my son couldn't get enough--he actually licked the plate--but tonight he didn't want anything to do with it. I think he liked the sauce better last time; I added 1/2 cup leftover tomato puree so it coated the pasta with more of a thick sauce than the recipe made tonight. Either way, The H and I were very happy with how it turned out.

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