MINI-MENUS: Ragout for cold winter nights

Pam Griffin

Sausage and Bean Ragout

2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. ground beef 1 Italian pork sausage, casing removed 1 large onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 1/2 cups chicken broth 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes seasoned with garlic, oregano and basil 1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained 1/2 cup uncooked elbow pasta 1 (6 oz.) package fresh baby spinach leaves, washed 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese Heat oil in saucepot over medium-high heat. Add beef, sausage and onion and cook until meats are browned, stirring to separate meat.

Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.

Add broth, basil, tomatoes and beans. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.

Add spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve with additional cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Vegetable Ragout

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 cups onions, chopped 2 medium carrots, sliced in 1/2 pieces 4 medium celery ribs, chopped 1 1/2 cups cut green beans 2 bay leaves 1 pinch dried thyme 1 1/2 cups dry red wine 1 1/2 cups zucchini, sliced 1 lb sliced mushrooms 2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks Sauce 2 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce 1/2 tsp.salt 1 cup vegetable stock 3 Tbsp. tomato paste 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp. vinegar 1 Tbsp. molasses 1 pinch black pepper 1 tsp.dried basil

Heat the oil in a heavy stew pot. Saute the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and green beans for 3-4 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, thyme and red wine and boil, uncovered for 3 minutes.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Combine the sauce ingredients and then stir the sauce into the vegetables. Simmer about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. While the vegetables are stewing, cook the potatoes separately in salted boiling water until they are tender. Drain and add them to the ragout a few minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.