Raffaella’s Ragu’ con Funghi Porcini (Meat Sauce) #2
Meat Sauce with Porcini Mushroom
This ragu' is an interesting combination of flavors and textures. The Northern Italian Sausage is made has no fennel and uses a combination of Parmesan cheese, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper to accent the flavor of the pork. Combined with the red wine, ground beef and mushrooms it creates a complexity of flavors that explode in your mouth one right after the other. No single component is overbearing; just kind of sneak up on you. Although this sauce could be used for a lasagna it is better combined with a simple plate for freshly made fettucine.
1 lb Ground Beef
½ lb Northern Italian Sausage
20 grams of Butter (about 1 ½ Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 medium Onion minced
1 Carrot minced
1 Stalk of Celery minced
300 grams of fresh Mushrooms (preferably Porcini) or 100 grams of dried Mushrooms
½ cup Red Wine – medium body and not fruity.
1 28 oz can of tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 clove of Garlic
2 Bay leaves
1 palm of Coarse Sea Salt
1) There are Porcini produced in Oregon that are significantly less expensive than the Italian version and are of excellent quality. We usually purchase them in 10 lb bags frozen.
2) A palm is the amount you can easily pick up in your hand. It would be about 1 ½ Tablespoons.
Mash the tomatoes in a mixing bowl, creating a uniform sauce.
Remove the sausage from the casing.
If you are using fresh mushroom, clean them and slice very thin. For dried mushrooms, place them in warm water for ½ hour. Drain, and rinse again with running water. The dried mushrooms may have more dirt and be more difficult to clean so rinse them well.
In a heavy bottomed medium pot with high sides, heat the oil and butter on medium heat. When hot and completed dissolved add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until transparent, without allowing them to gain too much color. Add the ground beef and the crumbled sausage, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the meat releases all of its liquid. Reduce on medium heat until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated.
Add the wine and allow it to almost completely evaporate.
Add the mushrooms. For fresh mushrooms, the mushrooms will let go of their natural water, allow this to evaporate before proceeding to the next step. For dried mushroom it is enough to let them cook for a couple of minutes turning them several times with the meat.
Add the tomatoes. Fill the tomato can ¾ full with hot water. Add the water to meat, salt pepper, the clove of garlic and the bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
Very important: The ragu’ must simmer and nothing more for the entire time it is cooking.
Continue on very low heat for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally. After 4 hours the sauce can be tasted and seasoned to taste. It is likely that no additional salt will be required since sausage was mixed with the ground beef. Remove the garlic and the bay leaves.
Continue cooking for the remaining 2 hours on very low heat.
This sauce has no limit for the amount of time it can simmer. The longer it cooks the more intense the flavor. The final result should be a dense sauce, without any liquid.
Ragu’ is always better the day after so prepare at least one day before you want to use it. Raffaella always makes about 4 times the amount she needs for any dish. The remaining ragu’ can be kept in the fridge for about a week or divided into portions and frozen.
Tags: Meat Sauce Porcini Mushrooms Ragu Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy