Rigatoni With Italian Sausage & Mushrooms

One of my favourite guys when I ran an executive dining room, loved pasta.   He’d ask why I never cooked it for him. So, one day I surprised him with this pasta, he was very pleased! Of course, I had to use a pasta shape that was easy to eat or they would splash sauce all over their suits! If you use dried porcini mushrooms often, it might be worthwhile to buy them in the larger bags from an Italian grocery store. That you can make the sauce ahead is a good thing for entertaining!

Makes 6 Servings

1 oz. (about 30 grams) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb. hot Italian sausages, or ½ lb. each hot & mild, casings removed
1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled or 1 ½ tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
½ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup beef stock (see below) or tinned unsalted broth
1 ¼ lbs. rigatoni pasta
1 cup creamo (half & half)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano + additional for serving
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Place the porcini in a small bowl, pour 1 cup hot water over; let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain porcini, reserving soaking liquid. Chop porcini, discarding any hard stems. Set aside. Line a sieve with either 2 layers of rinsed cheesecloth or a damp, small coffee filter and pour the reserved soaking liquid through to remove any sediment or sand.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Warm a large pasta serving bowl in a 180 F. oven.

Melt butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, increase heat to med-high,  cooking  just until no longer pink, breaking up lumps with a fork, about 6 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and dried rosemary (if using fresh add later), stirring until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add porcini, wine and bay leaf,  boil until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add stock and porcini soaking liquid. Simmer until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. The sauce can be made 2 days ahead, cool slightly, chill until cold, cover, keep chilled.)

When the water is boiling, add the pasta, stirring for a minute to prevent sticking; cook until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite.) Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander.

Meanwhile, add the creamo and fresh rosemary (if using) to the sauce, boiling until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the sauce; stirring to coat with the sauce. Add the Parmigiano, season with salt & pepper to taste, tossing to combine. If the pasta appears to be dry, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Pour the pasta into the heated serving bowl; sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve, passing additional Parmigiano.

Helpful tip to Making Stock.

Phyllis Signature

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