May 21 2007

Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese

Our English interpretation of this Italian classic often lacks some traditional ingredients. In Italy minced prosciutto fat or pancetta is added to the Ragu. Even a little minced streaky bacon will help to give that special depth of flavour.

To feed four people first make the Ragu. Heat 50gms of butter in a heavy pan, add the pancetta, bacon or prosciutto fat with finely chopped carrot, celery and onion. Cook gently without browning for about 10 minutes.

Next, stir in 200gms lean minced beef or 100gms beef and 100gms minced pork. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Pour in a glass of red wine letting it bubble for a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol. Add a tin of tomatoes or a little good stock and tomato puree to loosen the mixture.

Stir well and then allow simmer for I ½ hours adding more stock during cooking if the mixture begins to look dry. Taste and then add seasoning, maybe some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put 500gms of tagliatelle in boiling water and cook till al dente. Strain the pasta, retaining a little of the water. Rinse the pasta and reheat with olive oil and a little of the reserved water. Serve with the Bolognese Ragu, grated Parmesan cheese and a green salad.

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