During the weekend when I have the time to spend next to the stove I like making this tagliatelle and bolognese ragu. Obviously, I know many people including me often have pasta and bolognese sauce for something quick to eat in the middle of working week. But when I have all day, I like to cook it properly which means, cooking it the way I'd like it to be but not necessarily authentic.
For me, bolognese ragu should be a meat sauce with tomato, not a tomato sauce with meat which I often find, even in restaurants. And cooking bolognese ragu, or any ragu involves three simple steps: browning the mirepoix (fancier and quicker words to say onions, carrots and celery) and the meat, adding and reducing flavourful liquids like wine to build up the layers of flavours and the simmering it gently until the flavours are blended. Yes, making ragu is time consuming but it is not at all difficult. Once the sauce is at the simmering stage, there's nothing much to do then stirring it every now and then.
In my bolognese sauce, I like using the mixture of mince beef, pork and pancetta and my choice for the flavourful liquid is red wine, I like Chianti or Cotes du Rhone. The tomato element is contributed by tomato paste and in keeping with tradition, I add some milk towards the end of the cooking.
With the ragu, I want to serve it with fresh pasta and again, if you've never tried it, making fresh pasta is easy but it can be quite fiddly, but I suppose there is no point to make fresh pasta if you don't want to enjoy in the whole process. I find it relaxing and rewarding at the end.
I make my pasta like the Italians do, by putting some flour on a wooden board, crack some eggs onto it, a little salt, extra virgin olive oil and mixing them all together gently starting with a fork and then by hand (clean, of course) and be prepared to get a little messy. Mix until it became a dough and knead until it's soft and smooth. This process can be done in a food processor, but it's less fun and more washing-up.
I wrapped the dough tightly in cling and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour before rolling it with pasta machine and cut into the shape that you require.
Fresh pasta takes a lot less time to cook than dried pasta, so make sure the ragu is ready before you start boiling the pasta. One last thing, don't serve the ragu on top of the pasta, they must be tossed well together and then serve with grating of parmesan. Enjoy.
Tagliatelle and Bolognese Ragu
Recipe by Me
Serves 4 with second serving for everyone
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
80 g pancetta, cut into small cubes
250 g minced beef
500 g minced pork
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoon tomato paste
250 ml red wine, like Chianti
500 ml beef stock, home-made/store bought or from a cube
125 ml whole milk
Salt and black pepper, to taste
500 gr tagliatelle, fresh or dried
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Start by making the ragu. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the finely chopped vegetables. Cook until they turn a nice golden colour, stirring occasionally. Add the pancetta and let it cook for 5 minutes and then add the minced pork, beef and dried oregano and break up the meat with wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper as you add more ingredients. Cook for about 8 minutes until everything turn into a rich brown colour.
Add the wine and let it evaporate a little bit and pour in the stock and tomato paste. At this point the ragu will look very watery, but don't panic in the slightest. Bring the ragu to a boil and then simmer, partially covered for a couple of hours. Stirring every now and then.
After two hours the sauce should be thick in texture and rich in colour. Add a bit of water or more stock if it looks too dry. Add the milk and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Give the ragu a taste and adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat and cover to keep it warm.
Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta. Fresh pasta should take only about 3 - 4 minutes to cook. If you're using dried pasta, check the instruction at the back of the packet. Once cooked, drain the pasta and put in the serving bowl. I like to toss the pasta in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or butter (your choice) before tossing it with the sauce and some chopped parsley until well combined. Serve with some grating of cheese and enjoy.