Normandie Fischer's Fancy Ragu

Normandie Fischer studied sculpture in Italy before receiving a BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Her books, which have garnered numerous awards, include her Carolina Coast stories: Becalmed, Heavy Weather, Twilight Christmas, and Sailing out of Darkness. From Fire into Fire and Two from Isaac’s House—a Romantic Times Top Pick—form the beginning of her Isaac’s House series. A lifelong sailor, Normandie and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, sailing home to North Carolina in 2011 to take care of her mother. They have four children, two grandchildren, and an aussiedoodle named Rhion. Learn more about Normandie HERE.

Normandie's Book Release - Two From Isaac's House 

Inheritance? Check. Solo trip before getting married? Check. Dangerous hot guy she shouldn't get involved with in a thousand years? Oh, honey, that's a check.

From author Normandie Fischer comes a new romantic suspense that takes the reader from the hills of Italy to the Jordanian desert and from there to an Israel on the brink of war with Hamas. Rina Lynne has never traveled far from Morehead City, North Carolina. So when she inherits her father's secret stash, she's ready to kick up her heels and go adventuring before she settles down to marry her long-time fiancĂ©. 

First stop, Italy. Enter Tony (aka Anton), an engineering geek conned into helping his Israeli cousins as a sort-of spy. From the moment he meets Rina, he's distracted, which is not a good idea when there's already been murder and theft. And from the moment Rina meets Tony, she's fascinated, which is also not a good idea. He's an Arab-American, and she's half-Jewish. And engaged. And then there are all those bodies dropping around them, each linked to the gathering storm in the Middle East. Buy the book HERE. 

Normandie Fischer's Recipe for Fancy Ragu

Smithfield’s pork barbecue
14 oz. Italian sausage
½ sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
1-2 yellow squash or zucchini
baby spinach
Pappardelle noodles
Organic spaghetti sauce of your choice
Any other vegetable that’s hanging around and needs to be eaten
A dab or two of honey
Sweet wine
Salt, pepper
Goat cheese

The lovely thing about this ragu is that someone else already cooked the pork, and Smithfield’s has a wonderful peppery/vinegary taste that works well to season this sauce. I added the sausage only because it was left over from another meal. Leftovers determine the vegetable component of the dish as well. Squash adds color and texture (you can put almost any veggie in). And I chop and toss spinach into most things. Great color. Smooths out the flavor.

The rest is simple. Chop the veggies. Saute first the onion/carrot/garlic bits. Next add in the squash. Then the mushroom. Then the spaghetti sauce. Don’t season until the pork has been added.

Now, here’s a trick I’ve found that adds a lovely layer to tomato-based sauces: honey. I’ve already salted to taste, and I’ve poured in a generous ¼ cup or so of sweet wine (on the order of my mama’s Riesling, which is much too sweet for me to drink but that works beautifully in a sauce). I add honey until that layering happens. Once your palette becomes sensitive to this, you’ll know what I mean.

Let it  simmer while the noodles cook. Papparadelle noodles are perfect with ragu. Don’t let them overcook past al dente.

Then plate and, if your parsley has gone the way of winter hibernation, add a few small slices of uncooked baby spinach for garnish. Oh, and don’t forget the goat cheese. I can’t eat cow’s milk products, but goat cheese is perfect. It really enhances the flavor of the dish. Enjoy!