Friday 12 October 2012

Italian Ragu: A delicious Bolognese

As I have mentioned previously, I went on an amazing camper-van holiday around Europe earlier in the year.
In florence I experienced the best bolognese sauce in the world. Which is to be expected in the home of pasta! It was a penne ragu in a tiny restaurant called "Mario's Trattoria".

The experience was amazing. All of their ingredients are sourced fresh from the market next door each day. To accommodate for seasonal changes in fresh stock or the possibility of ingredients not being available at the market, the menu is handwritten on a piece of paper and attached to the wall each day.

 Once the ingredients have run out, the dish is simply crossed off the menu. When all dishes have been served and there is no food left to cook, the restaurant closes to prepare for the following day. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming. This divine little restaurant is run by a close-knit family who appear to love to cook. The waitress was fantastic and had no trouble with my order, with no help from my pitiful knowledge of the Italian language.

All I have thought about since I got back is making my own Italian Ragu.

So you'll never guess what I did yesterday...

To begin I needed the ingredients:
A packet of Latina Fresh papardelle (or any pasta for which you have a preference...or in the cupboard)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot (leave the skin on and simply wash, tastes better)
100g thick slice of pancetta
2 garlic cloves
500g diced chuck steak
1/2 cup of a clean skin chardonnay
Can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of pure cream
pinch of nutmeg
parmesan cheese
parsley, to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Slice the pancetta into small, thick strips. Cook the onion for 3-5 minutes until softened, don't let it brown. Add the celery, carrot, pancetta and garlic and cook until vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).

2. Increase the heat to high and add the steak, cook until browned, then add the wine and bring to the boil.

3. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to low.
4. Cover and leave to simmer. We left it for about 3 hours so that the steak pieces fell apart at the touch. If you want to have dinner cooked in 30 mins; slice the steak into finely chopped pieces and simmer for about 20 mins.

5. Stir in the cream and nutmeg. Season to taste.
6. Boil the pasta then add to sauce.
7. Cover with parmesan, dress with olive oil then sprinkle some parsley and you have a delightful italian dinner ready to serve.

Although it wasn't from a trattoria in Florence, it is definitely a new addition to my repertoire.

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