Porcini Mushrooms & Whole Wheat Rigatoni
In my home we always make Bolognese sauce the day before we enjoy it. The extra time in the refrigerator really helps marry the flavors. If you’re not a duck fan or you have trouble finding some, feel free to substitute beef, veal or lamb. Porcini mushroom have a very short season in the autumn; if unavailable in your area try substituting Portobello mushrooms.
Serves 6 / Total Time:
Make the Sauce
- Heat a large sauce pot over high heat and add oil to coat the bottom. Add ground duck meat. Cook, stirring occasionally as moisture seeps out of meat, liquid boils away and the duck begins to brown. Continue cooking until the meat sears into a dark golden brown color. After color is achieved, pour off any excess duck fat.
- Add chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add onions, carrots, celery, sage leaves, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and bay leaves. Stir constantly while mixture cooks for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the Cabernet Sauvignon and let boil until almost dry. Add the crushed tomatoes and water. Turn the heat to medium and let simmer for at least two hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Pasta
- In a large sauté pan over high heat add the olive oil. Add the porcini mushrooms and let sear until golden brown. Flip mushrooms over to sear the other side. Once all sides have been seared turn the heat to low.
- Add shallots and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until tender. Strain the pasta out of the pot leaving ½ cup of the pasta water in the bottom.
- Add the pasta back to the pot, return to heat and add the porcini mushrooms. Once boiling, stir in the lemon juice, zest, and grated parmesan. Stir well and pour onto a platter.
- To serve, check the seasoning of the duck Bolognese and pour over the rigatoni. Sprinkle more Parmesan on top and serve immediately. Buon Appetito!
The secret to a great Bolognese is searing your meat to a dark crispy-brown color. While ground meat cooks fairly quickly to a grayish brown color, you must continue cooking it until it gets a crispy crunchy texture. This is proper browning and results in a much richer and more complex flavor for your Bolognese.
Hint: Reserve the duck fat from this recipe, and the next time a recipe calls for butter or shortening use the duck fat instead. Try using duck fat in your next pie crust...mmmmmmmm good!