Penne in Country Ragu

by Monica Bennion on October 11, 2011

This robust Italian style pasta dish pairs nicely with our lively and full-flavored 2008 Mountain Selection Barbera.

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cups (finely chopped) canned whole Italian-style plum tomatoes
1 cup (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Scott Harvey Mountain Selection Barbera
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
12 oz penne pasta
1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add sausage, garlic and crushed red pepper.  Sauté until brown, breaking up the sausage with a fork.  Add carrots, onion and celery, sauté until the vegetable begin to brown, about 10 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 cup chicken broth and wine; simmer uncovered until liquid is slightly reduced, or about 15 minutes.  Add basil, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, adding more broth if liquid evaporates too quickly and stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.  Simmer uncovered until ragù thickens to desired consistency, stirring often, up to 10 minutes. 

While the ragù is simmering, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot and mix in the ragù, 1/2 cup of cheese and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Combine well, adding pasta water to moisten, as desired. 

Serve pasta on plates and top with cheese as desired.

Recipe courtesy of

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