Rigatoni with Rapid Ragu

Although a totally different animal from a typical long-cooking beef ragu, this quick recipe is packed with flavor. It is a great weeknight dinner if you're craving a meat sauce but haven't the time for an authentic slow-cooked version. The secret flavor weapon is mortadella--a slow smoked sausage which originated in Bologna, Italy, made from pork, beef, fat and seasonings. It is available in the deli section of most markets.

Recipe courtesy of Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen by Lucinda Scala Quinn; photography by Quentin Bacon

Rigatoni with Rapid Ragu

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    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 8 ounces tomato sauce, can use canned if you don't have homemade
    3 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 pound rigatoni pasta
    3/4 pound ground pork Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 pound mortadella, chopped fine Freshly ground black pepper

    directions

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    • 1

      Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

    • 2

      Put the olive oil and garlic in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and cook until the garlic sizzles and is slightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the pork and mortadella and cook, while stirring, until the pinkness is eliminated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon of water. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley.

    • 3

      Meanwhile, with 15 minutes left for the sauce to cook, generously salt the boiling water. Add the rigatoni and cook until tender but still firm. Set the timer for 2 minutes less than the package instructions specify and taste for doneness. Toss the rigatoni with the sauce and serve topped with Parmesan cheese and pepper.

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