A monthly experiment.

That’s a fancy Italian way of saying Rigatoni with Mushroom and Leek Ragu. It’s a really simple dish that takes a little bit of time but not much effort. Let’s get into the ingredient list

  • 2 medium leeks
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lbs of cremini mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 lbs box of Rigatoni
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • White Wine vinegar

Alright to begin prep, wash and slice the mushrooms and place them in a bowl.  Cut the dark green part of the leeks off and cut off the root. Slice it in half the long way and run cold water through it. Peel the layers apart a bit to get any grit out. DO NOT disassemble them completely as it makes cutting them a lot harder. Just spend some time making sure there is no grit inside. Once they are clean cut them into 1/2 inch little moons by cutting across the  grain. Dice the onion into 1/4 inch dice and mince the garlic. Strip the thyme leaves off the stem and give them a rough chop.

Cooking time, add some olive oil to a pan over medium high heat and get it hot, then add the mushrooms, we want to get these guys cooked down and slightly browned. When these are soft and smelling good add the onion and some salt. Turn the heat down to medium and sweat the onions until soft but not brown. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to change color. If you need more oil add some more. Add the leeks and sweat them until they are soft. Once everything is easy to stir and softened up add the thyme and cook until you can smell its coming from the pan.

Open the tomatoes pour them into a bowl and crush them with your hands. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pan and bring to a simmer, add a cup of Vegetable stock and turn down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Then hit it with some vinegar. You want enough vinegar to taste a slight brightness to the sauce but not taste like vinegar. This is a big part of seasoning a lot of people don’t know about. Use vinegar like salt, it will bring out the brightness of flavors and add dimension to a dish, and just like salt you need to learn how to taste that flavor and get the right amount in there to be perfect.

Now while the sauce is simmering get a pot of water a handful of salt going full boil and boil your pasta as per the instructions on the box/bag. For rigatoni it’s usually around 12 minutes. When the pasta is al dente remove it from the water. Add the pasta to the pan of sauce and toss it through, serve with a little bit of extra olive oil and a fresh grind of pepper.

Tip: You may find your pan is nowhere near big enough for all that sauce and all that pasta, if this is the case once the pasta is out of  your large pot pour it back in and pour the sauce into the big pot, the mix and finish in the pot.

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