Monday, March 25, 2013

Gramigna al Ragù di Salsiccia

My February 2013 post (here) covers making fresh gramigna in a torchio pasta press. Home kitchens, restaurants and cookbooks typically pair the sprout-like shaped gramigna with a sausage ragù. I listed a number of gramigna recipes from various sources including a recipe from Trattoria da Gianni a la Vécia Bulàgna in Bologna that Slow Food Editore published in its Italian-language cookbook entitled La Pasta [2010]. Of the sauces that I have tried with gramigna, this version remains one of my favorites. The simple ragù, although rich, tastes bright and not heavy. Here’s my translation of Gramigna al Ragù di Salsiccia from La Pasta.

Time to prepare and cook: 1¼ hours
Serves: 6

800 grams gramigna
600 grams pork sausage
1 small carrot
½ onion
½ celery rib
500 grams tomatoes, peeled
a glass of dry white wine
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Prepare a battuto with onion, celery and carrot and lightly brown in a frying pan with a little oil. In the meantime, skin the sausage, break it up in the pan, brown it for a few minutes over medium heat, mixing to combine the ingredients and pour in the wine.

Once the wine has evaporated, purée the tomatoes, pour them into the pan and simmer over low heat, covered, for one hour, checking that the sauce doesn’t get too dry and adding a little water, if necessary. Taste the sauce and season with salt.

Boil the gramigna in a large pot filled with salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, draining when al dente. Coat with the sauce and finish with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano.


As used in the above recipe, a battuto is a finely diced mixture of vegetables that, once cooked, become the flavor-base of countless Italian soups, stews and sauces. In her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking [1992], the great Marcella Hazan writes: “At one time, the nearly invariable components of a battuto were lard, parsley, and onion, all chopped very fine.” Today, more often than not, a recipe calling for a battuto dispenses with the lard and cooks the chopped vegetables in olive oil or butter. Hazan continues: “When a battuto is sautéed in a pot or skillet until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic, if any, become colored a pale gold, it turns into a soffritto.”

When I make Gramigna al Ragù di Salsiccia, I cook the vegetables for about 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat. After creating the soffritto, I turn the heat up to medium to brown the crumbled sausage. I use a dry Orvieto, about 200 ml or so, to deglaze the pan.

Finally, the La Pasta recipe suggests cooking the gramigna for about 5 to 6 minutes. That time frame sounds a little too long to me. Taste the pasta as you go. I typically cook fresh gramigna for about 3 minutes after the pasta water has returned to a boil.