Friday, September 28, 2007

Good food doesn't have to be complicated
--Mini-Rigatoni with Red Wine Ragù

Mini-Rigatoni with Red Wine Ragù
The Simpler The Better Sensational Italian Meals Copyright 2005

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¼ pounds ground chuck
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup milk
One 14 ½-ounce can vegetable broth
¾ cup red wine
1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes in heavy puree
1 pound dried mini-rigatoni or spaghetti I used penne

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a large saucepan. Add beef, season lightly with salt and cook away redness, stirring and breaking up meat with the spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in three-fourths of the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add milk, lower heat to medium and cook until mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add broth, wine, and tomatoes. It will look very thin at this point.
2. Bring to a strong simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and rich, 35 to 45 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Return pot to low heat and add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and remaining garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in pasta and heat 1 minute more. Stir in 1 cup ragù and heat together 1 minute. Reheat remaining sauce, if necessary. Divide pasta among plates and top each with a ladleful of sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This sauce had great flavor. It wasn't super-quick but it didn't take hours to cook either. This is great for when you have a bit of extra time to make a weekday dinner or you can make the sauce ahead of time. If you get the sauce started first, you can then make the pasta, salad and some garlic bread while it simmers down to a thick sauce. It starts out very, very liquidy so don't let that scare you. This might not be a 30-minute meal but you can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes.

It really irks me when I can't find exactly the shape of pasta a recipe calls for (although it does say that you could use spaghetti here). I could have used 'small' rigatoni but since I couldn't find the mini rigatoni, I used penne so I could use Dreamfield pasta.

This week might have been the first time I stuck to my grocery list exactly (plus the three things my husband asked for as I was on my way out the door). My total was a little bit lower than usual but not much. I'll keep trying.

Blast From The Past: Spaghetti Alla Bolognese from May 2005. That's similar to this ragù but it's more work.

Question of the Day: How many different pasta shapes are in your pantry right now?


Red Dirt Mummy said...

Hmm.. lasagna sheets, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, bows (I can't remember their proper name) and tiny little soup pasta shapes. So, six.

Anonymous said...

Without going to check, I'd say three: spaghetti, linguini and shells. Oh, wait - elbow macaroni.


Lisa said...

Off the top of my head... spaghetti, linguini, angel hair, lasagna, penne, cavatapi, orzo, rigatoni, shells... I just stocked up recently!

Brilynn said...

Too many! And lots of remnants of bags that aren't enough to make a full meal out of that I don't know what to do with.

Anonymous said...

I think I probably have about 6 or 7 different shapes (more if you count the whole wheat ones separate to their "regular" counterparts). My youngest son eats pasta at least 5 days a week so we have to keep things interesting.

Anonymous said...

4...Dreamfields spaghetti and penne, some orzo and some specialty bows that I need to figure out what to use for.