Veal and Eggplant Ragu
Veal, eggplant and winter spices combine for a warming ragu that will feed a crowd.
- 1 small to medium eggplant, half the skin peeled off in strips, then flesh diced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
- 10-12 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg or a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 1 pound strozzapreti, pici or other sturdy cut pasta
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Season the eggplant with salt and let drain on a kitchen towel for a few minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium heat; melt the butter into the EVOO. Add the veal and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; add the sage and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium-high; stir in the onion, garlic and eggplant. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and half-and-half. Reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer the ragu while the pasta cooks.
Salt the boiling water, then cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving half a mug of the startchy cooking water. Stir some of the starchy cooking water into the ragu, then toss the pasta with the ragu. Season; top with grated cheese.