Pasta with Vegetable Ragout

The key to getting a good result when making this dish is variety of vegetables (which will give you a combination of textures and flavors), freshness, plenty of herbs, the gentle and deliberate cooking of the ragout, and knowing what to add to the saute pan, and when (example: add zucchini early on, and it goes limp). The result is a lovely tangle of texture and taste.

Serves 2

6 ounces pappardelle

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large carrot, scraped and thickly julienned

1 shallot, peeled and minced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ half-circles

1 small summer squash, sliced into 1/4″ half circles

salt, to taste

4 fresh basil leaves, rolled like a cigar, and minced

ricotta salata

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the pappardelle. Cook for approximately 8 minutes (it should be al dente), drain, shock with cold water, giving the colander a few good shakes. Set aside.

2. In a large saute pan set over medium heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the carrots, and cook for about 3 minutes, until lightly tender. Add the shallot and garlic, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue to cook until they’re almost soft (but don’t take on color).

3. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, about 6 minutes. Drizzle in half the stock, add the thyme leaves, combine well, cook for another 3 minutes, cover, and remove from heat.

4. Bring the wine to a simmer in a small saucepan, add the sun-dried tomatoes, remove from the heat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a small bowl, and reserve the wine. Chop the tomatoes coarsely.

5. Return the saute pan to a low flame, add the zucchini, squash, tomatoes, wine, and the balance of the stock, and toss well. Bring to a low simmer, and add the basil. Cook uncovered until the zucchini is tender, tossing it frequently.

6. Add the pappardelle to the saute pan with the vegetables, to heat through. Transfer to warm, shallow bowls,  ladle in some of the broth, top with crumbled ricotta salata, and drizzle with olive oil.



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