Preparation – Medium
2 – 3 Cups
This is called White Sauce simply because it has no tomatoes. It’s made with shreds of wild boar, if available, or sausage or plain pork. I’ve had sugo bianco, sometimes called ragu’ bianco, with pici and gnocchi, as well as with more conventional pasta.
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages
2 large fresh porcini mushrooms, or use one 1/2-oz package dried mushrooms and
1/4 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 T fresh cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, gently sweat the onion in the olive oil until it is meltingly soft.
While the onion is cooking, strip the skins away from the sausages and crumble the sausage meat with a fork or your fingers.
Add the sausage meat to the onions and continue cooking very gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is thoroughly brown.
Meanwhile, clean the fresh mushrooms with a mushroom brush, cutting away any discolored parts, and chop coarsely; if using dried mushrooms, soak for at least 15 minutes in 1 1/2 cups very warm water.
When they are soft, rinse under running water, and chop coarsely.
Reserve the soaking liquid to be strained into the sauce.
Grate the zucchini, skin and all, on the large holes of a cheese grater to make about 1 1/4 cups.
Add to the onion-meat mixture together with the chopped sage and stir to incorporate well.
Continue cooking on medium-low heat until the zucchini bits are thoroughly softened, then stir in the chopped mushrooms.
Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pan. (If you are using only fresh mushrooms, add a few tablespoons of hot water at this point.) Raise the heat to medium and cook rapidly until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed.
Away from the heat, stir the cream rapidly into the sauce, then return to the heat briefly, just to bring the cream to a simmering point. (If the sauce is too liquid, it may be boiled to thicken; if it is too thick, stir in a little more cream to thin it out.)
Season to taste.
Serve immediately over gnocchi, fusilli, or other short, curly pasta.
Preparation – Easy
Prep :15; Cook :30
A very simple meat sauce adapted from the delightful ‘The Tuscan Year’ by Elizabeth Romer. The sauce will be richer if you use a mixture of meats.
•1 cup chopped onion
•1 cup carrot, chopped
•1 cup celery with leaves, chopped
•3 sprigs of Italian parsley
•6 oz ground beef, pork or veal, mixed with some chopped bacon or pancetta; or 6 oz Italian sausages split open
•VARIATION: you can also substitute mushrooms for meat in this recipe.
•2/3 to 1 1/2 cups conserva or tomato puree, or fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped, or canned plum tomatoes
•2 T extra virgin olive oil
•salt and freshly ground black pepper
•1 lb spaghetti or any pasta
1.CHOP the onion, celery, carrot and parsley finely.
2.IN a frying pan on medium heat, heat up the two tablespoons of olive oil, add the chopped ingredients and allow them to soften.
3.ADD the meat, mix everything together and cook over a gentle flame until the meat has changed colour. Add the tomato conserva or ripe, diced tomatoes. Less tomato lets the meat flavor come through strongly; more tomato gives a more ‘blended taste’
4.SIMMER gently for half an hour and season to taste with salt and black pepper. If the mixture is too dry add a little more olive oil or tomato. Never add water.
5.COOK the pasta, drain, pour into warm bowl. Add the meat sauce, stir, and serve. Parmesan cheese is optional.
6.VARIATION: You can make this sauce substituting mushrooms for the meat: about 6 oz fresh mushrooms or 1 oz of dried porcini mushrooms (soaked for 1 hour). Both these sauces are excellent with pasta and polenta and delicious in lasagne.