My kids still think when I say ragu’ that I am talking about the American jarred pasta sauce. So, when I told them what was for dinner they thought I lost my mind (as usual!). Spaghetti sauce AND mashed potatoes? No meat sauce with mashed potatoes. A ragu is more meat less tomato sauce. More veggies – carrots, celery and onions and some whole milk or cream. Sounds weird right? But why no try it. Pasta, mashed potatoes…. Similar yes? Let’s see.
Verdict: I love mashed potatoes! It takes a little bit longer to make homemade versus packaged and really are best but if you don’t have the time making firm boxed mashed potatoes will work. Everyone liked the dish quite a bit. My son was the most skeptical and the one to like it the least. It was purely a texture issue for him. He likes mashed potatoes but doesn’t love them. If he has them he wants them lumpy and these were smooth and fluffy. Make them how you like them – lumpy or smooth.
The meat sauce was good. We are thinking of trying it over pasta soon. I want to make it a bit spicier next time. This was good but very tame. I think amping up the spice will perk it up.
I served this with broccoli and a green side salad to complete the meal.
1 1/2- 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, bulk or removed from casing
2 1/2 – 3 cups whole milk, divided
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
salt and pepper, to taste as desired
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish if desired
Bring potatoes in a large pot to a boil over high heat and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
While potatoes are cooking heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrot, celery and onion; cook until vegetables are golden brown, stirring often. Add sausage; cook until browned, stirring and breaking up sausage with side of spoon into small pieces.
Stir in 2 cups milk, tomato paste and dash of salt to sausage; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, simmer until thickened.
When potatoes are tender, drain well and place in large bowl. Add 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, butter, pepper, 1/2 cup milk and salt; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add up to 1/2 cup of additional milk as needed to desired consistency.
Divide potatoes between 6 bowls or plates; divide sauce over potatoes. Serve garnished with parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.