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Sugo bianco

Preparation - Medium
2 - 3 Cups

This is called White Sauce simply because it has no tomatoes. It's made with shreds of wild boar, if available, or sausage or plain pork. I've had sugo bianco, sometimes called ragu' bianco, with pici and gnocchi, as well as with more conventional pasta.

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages
2 large fresh porcini mushrooms, or use one 1/2-oz package dried mushrooms and
1/4 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 T fresh cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, gently sweat the onion in the olive oil until it is meltingly soft.
While the onion is cooking, strip the skins away from the sausages and crumble the sausage meat with a fork or your fingers.
Add the sausage meat to the onions and continue cooking very gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is thoroughly brown.
Meanwhile, clean the fresh mushrooms with a mushroom brush, cutting away any discolored parts, and chop coarsely; if using dried mushrooms, soak for at least 15 minutes in 1 1/2 cups very warm water.
When they are soft, rinse under running water, and chop coarsely.
Reserve the soaking liquid to be strained into the sauce.
Grate the zucchini, skin and all, on the large holes of a cheese grater to make about 1 1/4 cups.
Add to the onion-meat mixture together with the chopped sage and stir to incorporate well.
Continue cooking on medium-low heat until the zucchini bits are thoroughly softened, then stir in the chopped mushrooms.
Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pan. (If you are using only fresh mushrooms, add a few tablespoons of hot water at this point.) Raise the heat to medium and cook rapidly until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed.
Away from the heat, stir the cream rapidly into the sauce, then return to the heat briefly, just to bring the cream to a simmering point. (If the sauce is too liquid, it may be boiled to thicken; if it is too thick, stir in a little more cream to thin it out.)
Season to taste.
Serve immediately over gnocchi, fusilli, or other short, curly pasta.

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Bantam Books




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