LAMB SAUSAGE RAGOUT WITH CREMINI MUSHROOMS ON PENNE

In my kitchen, almost every week, I find myself making some sort of tomato sauce on pasta. I make sauces a hundred different ways and can't keep track of each recipe most of the time. Here is a recipe for lamb sausage ragout that I've made quite a few times, and luckily this time I made a real effort to write down measurements so I can share it with all of you Food Tastes Yummy readers! The sauce is thick, has a slight bit of gamey flavour from the lamb meat that I love, and has that earthy meaty flavour from the cremini mushrooms. I mean what's not to love? It's an easy dinner to put together and is definitely a good one to share with someone special. With the colder wintery months ahead of us we could all use more warm comforting meals like this one.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb penne rigate
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb lamb sausage, unwrap casing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of port (substitute: dry red wine)
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • grated Romano cheese (when serving)

1. Put on a large pot of boiling water, salt the water, then add in the penne. Cook until al dente or as per package instructions. Heat oil in a large deep shallow pan, on medium high heat, and cook the chopped bacon for a few minutes to render the fat. Add in the lamb sausage and cook until brown.

2. Add in the chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary at this point. Cook until the onions are translucent, then go ahead and add in the cremini mushrooms and carrots. Once the mushrooms have shrunk in size and the carrots are starting to cook through, pour in 1 cup of port and 1/4 cup of beef stock. Scrap up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and let the alcohol cook off. Stir in the tomato paste for a minute, then pour in the diced tomatoes.

3. Throw in the fresh bay leaf, and drop the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and gently simmer for a good 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. The sauce should be thick in consistency. Take the bay leaf out, then stir the cooked penne into the sauce and serve immediately.

Cook's suggestion: If you would like a creamy sauce add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and omit the beef stock, and cook the sauce until thick. If you would like a more looser sauce add a touch more beef stock and stir.


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