Anyone who enjoys or follows the restaurant scene here in Boston is familiar with Barbara Lynch and her roster of great dining and drinking establishments. In November 2009 Lynch published her highly anticipated first cookbook Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition. Last summer Gail and I were given a signed copy of Stir by Barbara Lynch Gruppo because Gail pointed out a discrepancy in the ingredients we were told were in a dish versus what was actually in the dish. Gail did not complain, she contacted Barbara Lynch Gruppo knowing they would take this type of discrepancy seriously, and they thanked her with a signed copy of the great cookbook!
Since then I have wanted to cook something (or nearly everything) from this cookbook. Sunday I wanted to make the Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage and Cannellini Beans for dinner but some adjustments had to be made in consideration of smaller portions and slightly different ingredients. Using the recipe as a guide and following the cooking instructions we ended up with a hearty pasta dish with a deliciously spicy beef ragu that was just what we wanted after a long chilly Sunday running errands:
|Perfect on a cold night.|
Recipe inspired by Barbara Lynch's Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 lb - 1 lb beef sausage, casings removed
1 cup red wine
2.5 lbs tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
ground black pepper
12 oz Truffle Papperdelle (my new favorite pasta courtesy of Valicenti Organico)
1 19 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add Garlic and cook approximately 2 minutes. Add the onion and sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, increase heat to high, and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes.
While the sauce is thickening bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Pasta and cook to al dente and drain. Add the drained pasta to the pan with sauce and stir until mixed. Add cannellini beans, cheese, basil, and butter and stir. Cook until the beans are heated 3-5 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning based on preference (mostly add more red pepper flakes if you want).
The original recipe called for 1 lb of spicy italian sausage, but we had 3/4 lb of beef sausage on hand so that is what we used. It also calls for canned or boxed crushed tomato, but we had fresh tomatoes from The Herb Lyceum so I used those. We were lacking fresh basil so I used 1.5 basil cubes from our freezer. Also, the recipe called for 1 lb of pasta, and it was not papperdelle, but in Stir Lynch points out that the recipe as she wrote it calls for pantry staples (pasta, canned beans, canned or box tomato) making it an easy midweek meal! After cooking this I can see dozens of ways to alter the ingredients to incorporate a variety of different ingredients and vegetables.