Monday, February 24, 2014

Rigatoni with Savory Meat Sauce

Rigatoni with Savory Meat Sauce
 This pasta dish has such a rich flavor, and is pretty quick and easy too.  You can even make the sauce a day in advance which can be really helpful when serving for an evening among friends. This is one of those meat sauces, like a beef bourguinon, whose taste only improves when eaten the following day. It's a favorite of adults and kids alike and is a perfect choice for any day of the week.  If you have fresh herbs on hand be sure to use them in place of the dried herbs in this flavorful dish!

1 lb. ground Italian sausage (can substitute with ground sirloin or chuck)
½ lb. apple wood smoked bacon, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup beef broth
½ cup red wine (can substitute with cranberry, grape or apple juice)
½ teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon each, dried oregano and dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

First, cut bacon across the grain into ¼ inch pieces.  Mince garlic.  Set aside.  In large sauté pan, place olive oil and sauté sausage, bacon, onion, garlic and spices until meat is browned.  Add red wine or juice and deglaze pan by scraping browned bits off bottom of pan with wooden spoon.  Add crushed tomatoes and beef broth.  Sauté until nice and saucy, 10-15 minutes or so. Place drained pasta in large pasta bowl and toss with a large spoonful of sauce. Pour remaining meat sauce over the pasta. Give the dish a few grinds of fresh pepper and garnish with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  Serve with plenty of crusty bread.  Serves about 6.

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