In the coldest winter months, a boscaiola sauce is the warm blanket we all need. Named for the boscaiola—or woodsman—it generally contains pork sausage, porcini mushrooms, and cream. Can’t you just imagine that storybook Italian woodsman, in his plaid shirt and Barbour coat, coming in from the cold to make a sauce from the things he’s found in the woods—pork and mushrooms—and cream, because a woodsman would want that extra bit of fortification, right?
It dawned on me, thinking of another sauce with sausage that I love, that boscaiola would make a great pink sauce. And on a cold, rainy Friday night, recently, I was proven right. Now, even in Italy, I don’t know that tomatoes grow in any forests. But why be so literal? I’m sure the woodsman would appreciate a little change of pace.
Soak a packet of porcinis in warm water. Saute 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, out of its casings, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly browned. Add about 1 cup tomato puree. Squeeze out the porcinis and chop them into bite-size pieces. Filter the porcini liquid and add it to the sauce. Simmer until you like the thickness of the sauce, then add some cream (I’ll leave it up to you and how rich you want it. I did just a dash, to keep things light—har—but a little more would be good on a wintry night).