Quick Sausage Meat Ragu

This sausage meat ragu is my go to recipe when I want a ragu sauce in a relatively short space of time. Using sausage meat shortcuts the slow cooking process required to get the meat tender and means you can have a finished sauce ready in about an hour or so. Maybe that’s not quick in your book, but I’m never one to rush anything when it comes to cooking.

I cooked this again last week because I had this bag of gigantic pasta tubes called Paccheri that had been hanging around in the cupboard for far too long. I vaguely remember why I’d bought them – I wanted some pappardelle, found the supermarkets had stopped selling it, bought these instead… and then decided I didn’t fancy using them and bought some tagliatelle instead. Did I tell you I’m perhaps a bit nuts about matching pasta to sauces?

Anyway, this massive bag of paccheri had been falling out of the cupboard every time I opened it for about three months and looking to be a bit more budget conscious, it was time to put neurotic pasta matching tendencies to one side and use the blighters. In the end, they worked really really well with the ragu. The tubes are so big, that they sort of flop flat, trapping dollops of the ragu inside of them –  a bit like impromptu ravioli but without the faff.

Another advantage of this recipe is the sausages themselves come pre-seasoned with different herbs and spices,  so you can change up the recipe or try different things. On this occasion I had some leftover pork bangers and added some venison sausages that caught my eye, which added a rich gaminess to the proceedings.

Ingredients

  • 100g diced unsmoked bacon or pancetta.
  • 1 small onion, finely diced.
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced.
  • 1 carrot, finely diced.
  • 400g sausages (skinned) or sausage meat.
  • Pinch of dried oregano or rosemary.
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional).
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree.
  • ½ glass of red or white wine.
  • 500ml tomato passata or a tin of tomatoes.

Method

Fry the bacon in a little olive oil until it is lightly browned and starting to release its own fat. Add the diced onion, carrot and celery, season with a little salt and continuing frying on a gentle heat until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, herbs and the chilli flakes and cook for a few more minutes, until the raw garlic smell has gone.

Turn up the heat to medium and add the sausage meat. As the meat browns, use a fork to break it up into small chunks. Continue cooking until any liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to fry. Add more olive oil as needed – you want to start getting a bit of colour on the meat.

Add the tomato puree and the wine and reduce the liquid by half, then add the passata or the tinned tomatoes and swill out the tin or jar with some water. Simmer for at least 40 minutes, before serving tossed in your chosen pasta with a topping of parmesan.

Lasagne

I had this for a couple of suppers and usually by then, no matter how tasty something is, I always want something else for my tea. This is where a trusty lasagne comes in and this ragu makes a fine component for a homemade meat lasagne. I’ll get round to blogging my recipe for a lasagne at some point in the near future, but it also makes things go a bit further as I got another four portions out of the lasagne.