CLASSIC pasta gnocchi in a pork and wild mushroom ragu








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Ready for the "best" in succulent sauce? This is an incredible ragu, or sauce, for anyone, but especially so for pork lovers.  The gnocchi literally become "one" with this sauce: an ideal wedding of two great northern Italian staples

for the sauce:
  • one ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • four tablespoons olive oil
  • eight ounces crimini mushrooms
  • three cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • two and a half cups white wine
  • one pound boneless pork shoulder or ribs, cut into one-half inch cubes
  • two ounces of prosciutto (or cotta), sliced and chopped
  • six ounces medium Italian sausage, casings removed
  • one medium onion, finely chopped
  • one celery stalk, finely chopped
  • two cups of canned San Marzano tomatoes, with juice, roughly chopped
  • one cup chicken broth
  • two bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • two tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • one cup freshly grated parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound gnocchi

Put the dried porcini in a bowl with one and one-half cups of hot water. Let stand for a half hour. Remover porcini and roughly chop. Save the soaking liquid.

In a saute pan, over medium heat, put in two tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic when oil has heated. Thirty seconds later add the crimini mushrooms and saute until they start to soften, two to three minutes. Add a half cup of the wine and allow alcohol to burn off. Set aside.

In a heavy pot, over medium high heat, add two tablespoons of of oi8l. Add the pork and salt and pepper. Saute until starting to brown, about six minuted. remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce accumulated oil to two tablespoons.

Reduce heat to medium, and add the sausage and prosciutto and cook until, sausage browns, about three minutes. During this cooking, use a wooden spoon to constantly break up the sausage and prosciutto pieces as they brown.

Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until soft, about eight minutes, stirring at times. Add the rest of the wine and bring to a boil, deglazing with a wooden spoon. Simmer about three minutes. Add the tomatoes, the chicken broth, reserved pork and reserved porcini mushrooms, along with the reserved porcini liquid. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered. Continue simmer until pork is tender, about an hour. Add more broth if the mixture is getting dry, a half cup at a time. Stir in crimini mushrooms and basil. taste for salt and pepper, and await the gnocchi.

 In four quarts of boiling water, add a tablespoon of salt and the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi float to the surface.

Add the gnocchi to the mushroom mixture. Simmer, stirring, for two minutes. Stir in half of the parmesan. Serve in heated bowls. Add more parmesan if needed. And sprinkle some of the basil on top of the gnocchi.


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