Turkey Sausage Ragu
Adapted, quite a bit, from Melissa Clark
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or substitute with another 2 tablespoons olive oil)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian-spiced turkey sausage, casings removed
3/4 pounds cremini and portabella mushrooms with stems
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2/3 cup carrots, finely diced
2/3 cup celery, finely diced
4 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, drained and torn to bits with hands
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound of pasta (I prefer to use Calamarata here, but you can use any biggish pasta with some ample openings for the sauce to get stuck in)
1. In a heavy-bottomed stockpot or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the turkey sausage and cook, in batches as necessary, until lightly browned.
2. Remove the meat from the pan. Add the remaining olive oil and the mushrooms, and cook until reduced and limp – 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, and the anchovies, sweat over medium heat until the anchovies have melted. Stir in the chili flakes and garlic and cook, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red wine and bring to a boil.
3. Add the meat and mushrooms back to the pan, along with the tomatoes, 2 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 40 minutes, covered, before uncovering and letting to simmer until the sauce has slightly reduced, about 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should looks slightly soupy – it gets thicker as it cools and gets absorbed by the pasta. Taste and add, additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water generously. Cook pasta according to package instructions until 2 minutes from al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pot of sauce, cooking for 2 minutes until pasta is al dente. (You can also make the sauce ahead of time and reheat it in a skillet, if you prefer). Serve.
Serves 4 to 6.