Ragusa Shepherd's Pasta: Fusilli al Pastore Ragusa
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds mixed red, yellow, and green peppers, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fusilli
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or caciocavallo
- Basic tomato sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
In a 10 to 12-inch saucepan, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onion just begins to turn golden. Add the pepper and continue stirring over medium heat until the peppers have softened, about 10 minutes, then add the chili flakes.
In the meantime, in a large pot, bring 6-quarts water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Stir in the fusilli and cook according to the package directions, until al dente, but not too tender.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1cup of the pasta water. Add the fusilli to the saucepan with the pork ragu. Add a little pasta water, if needed, for moisture. Toss well to coat the pasta, and season, to taste. Divide evenly among 4 warmed pasta plates, sprinkle with the pecorino, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.Basic tomato sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Yield: 4 cups