Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sausage Ragu and Mollydooker

Momma was asked for a food and wine combination that was WOW worthy, with the wine being about $25.00. You think this cannot be done? Yes, it can !

Mollydooker 2007 Two Left Feet South Australia Red Wine, with a rating of 93 from Parker
Momma Explains
Great wine does not have to cost you a great price but it does have to deliver flavor and balance. Somehow Sarah and Sparky Marquis are able to do just that. I especially like their 2007 Two Left Feet with my sausage ragu, but be warned, there are decent alcohol levels in this wine so go easy on the red pepper flakes. I also am a big fan of their Boxer wine but I actually like that one with a slab of cheese, and just a good conversation. I call the Boxer, my thinking wine. Two Left Feet is my dining wine. The Boxer is a big mouthful of flavor and I prefer to enjoy it practically sans food. Two Left Feet is a great blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It makes a perfect foil for my sausage ragu poured over rigatoni cooked, how else, al dente.

Momma's Sausage Ragu
Cook 3 pounds of sweet Italian sausage in a pan covered 2/3 of the way with water. Pierce casing to allow some fat to escape. Cook until done and set aside. I even cook it in a roasting pan in the oven with the water covering it at about 350 for an hour.

This recipe also calls for pork as the starting braise. Place 4 boneless pork chops on a plate and sprinkle both sides with Kosher salt and pepper-to your taste. Pour some good extra virgin olive oil in a pan and heat the oil, then cook 4 boneless pork chops ( about 1/2 inch each) for about 4 minutes a side. Give it just enough time to sear in the flavor then remove the chops and set aside. In the pan add more olive oil if necessary and cook one small onion sliced thin. Sprinkle the onion with some salt to caramelize. When the onion has softened add 6 minced cloves of garlic, cook for a minute ( garlic burns easily and gets bitter), turn off heat. Now, get out your big sauce pan, I use a non stick 8 or 10 quart pot because this cooks so long it can easily burn.You will need to stir it often. Pour the onion and olive oil mixture in the large pot and add the pork chops and sausage, ( You can cut the sausage into chunks if you prefer, I do ) You will need four cans 28 oz. each of SAN MARZANO tomatoes....if you use anything other than San Marzano..Momma will not be happy. My family does not like chunky sauce so I blend the peeled tomatoes from the can in my blender, then I add them to the BIG pot. I fill one of the empty cans about 2/3 full of water and rinse out the other cans by pouring one into the other, then I add that rinse water to the sauce pot. Since this cooks a long time it will thicken and you may need to add a little water to keep it moveable. I add about 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. I also add fresh oregano leaves (or dried if that is what you have) and some basil leaves as well. The spices are very individualized so let the sauce cook for an hour before you taste it, then if you want to add more salt or pepper you may but the sausage and pork will continue to add flavor so be careful with the salt etc... This sauce should be cooked at low heat for about 3 hours , just so it simmers, you know that slow boil where the flavors radiate throughout the house. Stir occasionally and as you stir the pork should start to break into chunks about 2 hours into the cooking.
When you are ready to eat, follow package directions for cooking your pasta of choice (ALWAYS add salt to the water, a small palm-full). I use about one pound of Barilla Rigatoni. When the pasta finishes cooking- al dente , drain well and dump it into the pot of ragu sausage and mix together. Then call the family in, have a salad as a side and open that bottle of Two Left Feet. Remember red wine should NOT be served at room temperature, I will address temperature in another blog, just make sure you serve Two left Feet at about 60 degrees, 65 degrees at the warmest, even if that means popping it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. Ah, I am hungry just writing about this.


  1. Oh Momma! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! This sounds wonderful.
    Suggestion for posting - how to know how long to keep a wine?

  2. Most wines have very limited shelf life if left after opening on the kitchen counter, say a few days and even then they are too warm whether red or white. You can save them by putting the opened bottle of wine in a refrigerator for about a week, then let it come up to the proper temperature. White is served at a lower temp than red but even red is best at about 60 degrees, some even less. I will do a future blog on your question and temperature. Thanks,