Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Spaghetti Bolognese or Pasta al Ragù

All you need to make Ragout
One of my mother's staple weekday suppers was Spaghetti Bolognese. It was delicious. My mum made it with best mince, tomatoes,onions,mushrooms tomato purée. The cooked spaghetti was mixed with butter,the sauce was ladled on the top and then lots of grated cheddar cheese was sprinkled over so it melted into the sauce. We all devoured it accept my dad. He had an aversion for minced meat and wasn't very good at twirling the spaghetti. Spaghetti Bolognese was our main meal, maybe a slice of Lemon meringue pie or Apple crumble afterwards if we were lucky. When I came to Italy no-one seemed to have heard of Spaghetti Bolognese, there was Pasta al Ragù or Ragout, but it was just a starter. Once everyone had finished that they were looking round for the next course, a nice juicy pork chop or something similar. I set out to discover the secret of Italian ragù. There are many versions and everyone has their own personal twist. My favourite recipe comes from my friend Patrizia's mother. Everything she makes is delicious and perfect. Not a recipe book in sight though in her kitchen, all handed down through the family for generations. She is nearly eighty and looks amazing, no expensive face creams or treatments, just good home cooking and a great love for her family.
So here it is

Antonia's Ragù

I stick of celery, chopped finely
1 onion chopped finely
1 carrot, grated
1 glass of white or red wine
450g salsa di pomodoro
1tbs tomato puree
250g minced meat- a combination of beef and veal or pork as preferred
Basil, salt and pepper
Olive oil,butter

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and add the chopped celery,onion and carrot. This is called the soffrito. Cook gently until soft then add the minced meat. Stir well and cook gently till the mince is lightly browned. Pour over the wine and let it evaporate then add the tomato sauce and puree and flavour with salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for about an hour, check the seasoning.
Cook the pasta according to the packet, drain and add a knob of butter. Gently mix in enough ragu to coat the pasta. Add some olive oil and black pepper if liked. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Any leftover ragu can be frozen or used to make Pasticcio di Lasagne.


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