Rep Note:
Ragù Boscaiola
11 April 2019

I can tell you how I made the sauce, but not what it tastes like, because while I was in the middle of making it, Kathleen told me on the phone that she didn’t feel up to sausage. So I also made some butter sauce, as we call that very simple Marcella Hazan concoction of canned tomatoes, split onion (removed after cooking, like a bouquet garni), and lots of butter. Butter sauce on thin spaghetti, with just a little parmesan, hit the spot. 

For the ragù, I sautéed a handful of minced mushrooms with a spoonful of mirepoix, and then added the meat from an Italian sausage that I had skinned and then defrosted. I tossed in about a cup of quartered mushroom caps. When all of this was cooked, I stirred in some beef broth and let it simmer down. I did the same with a splash of white wine. Finally, I tipped in the contents of a regular can of pulped tomatoes, and let this cook down for a while.

I say, “finally,” but I’m going to pour in a little bit of heavy cream when I reheat the sauce for dinner — one of these days. As I used to do forty years ago, I shall serve the ragù on cavatappi noodles. Forty years ago, I made up a sauce with most of these ingredients but without knowing what I was doing. I called it Pasta Morales, in honor of Kathleen, whom I had just fallen in love with. The ragù was always hearty, but otherwise uneven. Sometimes there were too many mushrooms; sometimes there wasn’t enough actual sauce. A few years out of law school, I decided that the dish was too rustic for Manhattan. (Oy.) I know that I wrote down the gist of a recipe, but I’m not sure that I still have it.

What does “Morales” have to do with Kathleen? Clues: A Chorus Line, 96th Street, and the problem of spelling “Moriarty.” There are still classmates who call her “Morales.” They might even have trouble remembering her actual name. 

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