There are times to be humble and there are times to just jump up and say “I Did Good”.  Tonight’s dinner is definitely of the latter!  I did good!

I had a pound of veal stew meat that I bought a while back with no particular recipe in mind.  Today, I pulled it out of the freezer, deciding that the weather outside called for a stew of sorts.

Feeling a bit uninspired, I started going through old magazines (I’ve tossed most of them over the years but still have a few too many lying about…) and found a recipe for a pasta dish with a sausage and veal ragu.  It wasn’t the ‘stew’ I was looking for, but it was perfect for the weather.

Naturally, I didn’t follow the recipe but used it as a base to make my own. I also used my homemade Italian Sausage.

And it worked.  Really well.

Sausage and Veal Ragu

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 lb veal stew meat, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 qt mushroom broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Soak mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water about 15 minutes. Strain soaking liquid through coffee filter into bowl. Coarsely chop mushrooms. Set liquid and mushrooms aside.

Sauté onion, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic until vegetables are tender but not brown.

Add sausage, breaking it up, and cook until brown; about 5 minutes.

Add veal and sauté until brown; about 5 minutes.

Add wine. Increase heat to high and boil until wine is almost evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add brandy and continue reducing.

Add 2 cups mushroom broth; boil 15 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add reserved mushroom liquid. Continue boiling until liquid is almost absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Mix in tomatoes with juices, bay leaves, sage, and porcini mushrooms.  Bring to boil again and reduce until thick – about 20 minutes.

Add remaining 2 cups mushroom broth and simmer uncovered until sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with papardelle or fettuccine.

I cooked up some fettuccine and served it all with the remainder of last nights bread.  Victor licked his bowl clean.

I don’t often make dishes that require constant reductions like this.  This was easily 2 1/2 hours of boiling and simmering – but the flavors concentrated and intensified over and over and over.  I could have just stood at the stove with a spoon.

I made a big batch because I am going to rework the leftovers into a stuffed manicotti dish either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Can’t wait!