Ragu


Fresh pasta and ragu time! Blogger decided to get picky about posting pictures, but I think you’ll get the idea.


First is the onion/garlic stage, where you cook them up before doing anything else. I also tossed in some minced shallots when the onions were nearing cooking completion before adding the garlic.


I chucked in some meatloaf mix ground meat with the onions. I got this at Roma Importing in Latham, NY. They have a special, where if you buy 3 or more pounds, it is only $2.99/lb. They have hormone and antibiotic free meat, so this is a good deal.

And when you cook it up, it smells fantastic. This meatloaf mix is made from a mix of pork, beef, and veal. Much better than just one of them.

Not pictured is adding milk to the meat after it has browned/cooked all of the way through. I’ve heard tell that it adds to the meat’s tenderness.


While the milk is being cooked into the meat, pop open a bottle of red wine. Sistah gave this to Albany John and me as a Christmas present. It is a bottle of The Show cabernet sauvignon. She had a whole bunch of wines to choose from, and let me have my pick. Naturally, I was drawn to the one with the brightest label and coolest font.

Pop it open and start chugging!
Oops, wait. Save a bit. Then start chugging.

Add the wine to the ground meat once the milk is absorbed. This is my favorite step – the mixture smells FABULOUS. My kitchen was already meaty, but the wine cooking into it just added another level of richness. You only need a little bit of wine. It just adds flavor. Too much ruins the dish and overwhelms everything.

I really liked cabernet sauvignon. I should remember to use it again for a red cooking wine. Not too sweet, and not too dry to cook with. Drink-wise, I let Albany John have at it. It was a wee bit too dry for me.


Then once the wine’s cooked off you can finally add your tomatoes. I got a large can of whole tomatoes with basil from Cardona’s Market for $5.99. I think it was 108 ounces. I squished each tomato with my hands, and then added the rest of the liquid. And a bit of water. And the dry herbs to season it up a bit.


I usually use crushed tomatoes, so this sauce was a little thinner than I am used to, but I like it. The other creations I’ve made of ragu sauce were so thick.



Oh, and while it was simmering away (I mean, you do cook bolognese sauce for at least 2 hours), I made fresh pasta with semolina flour. I used entirely semolina flour and found it added a nice chew / bite. Much less mushy than AP flour. AP flour noodles seem more like goulash and suited to Western European cooking than Italian dishes.


Semolina all the way, baby. I like 1.5 C semolina flour, 2 large eggs, bit of olive oil, dash of salt, and water to combine. Let it sit 20 minutes and then you can start rolling it out. I rolled mine out to level 5 (pretty thick) and cut out chunky pappardalle noodles by hand.

Fresh pasta cooks up really quickly – normally it’s only 3 minutes or so, but since these were thick and fat noodles, they were about 6 minutes to cook. I plunged them in ice water and then topped them with piping hot bolognese sauce. And some bowls got slatherings of fresh pecorino romano (also from Cardona’s, at $9.98/lb)

This was a pretty good recipe! I estimate it cost about $12-13 for the entire pot. $1 more for the fresh pasta.

I don’t remember exactly how much meat I used, but if I am being generous, I would say 1.75 lbs. So $5.24 for the meat. $5.99 for the gigantic tub of tomatoes. Herbs are negligible since I’ve always got them in the pantry.

This Incarnation’s Ragu Recipe:

5 yellow onions, diced
6 shallots, diced
1 whole head garlic, pressed
olive oil
1.5-2 # ground beef, pork, and veal mix
¾ C milk
½ C cabernet sauvignon
1 large can of whole tomatoes (108 oz) canned with basil

Dried parsely, marjoram, oregano, basil, salt

Heat olive oil over low heat in pan. Add diced onions and cook until almost translucent. Add shallots, cook until both are translucent.

Add garlic. Cook until fragrant (just a few minutes).

Add ground meat and turn heat up to medium/high to brown.

Add milk and reduce heat to low, so the milk is at a simmer. Stir occasionally until milk is absorbed by the ground meat.

Add wine. Stir occasionally until the ground meat absorbs it, too.

Add tomatoes – squish and crush the whole tomatoes by hand into the pot, and pour all the liquids in once finished. Add a little bit of water to the can to get all the tomato out, and pour that into the pot as well.

Add dried herbs and salt to pot. Stir to combine.

Once everything barely comes to a simmer, leave it to cook on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

7 comments
  1. That looks so good… and I can imagine what the kitchen smelled like!

    Jealous!

  2. wowsa! nice meal on a freezing cold day

  3. Interesting. My recipe calls for white wine, and a whole bunch of it. Love making this dish. But I stop short of making my own pasta.

    I did just see a pasta roller attachment for the kitchen aid at Macy's. But I've got too many kitchen toys.

    First world problems.

  4. Jennifer said:

    Looks so good. I love bolognese.

    I like that you crushed the tomatoes by hand. I love doing that. I like any kitchen chore that I can get my hands directly in the food. Deboning a chicken is practically meditation to me.

    I have never made my own pasta though. I need to try my hand at that one of these days.

  5. Grace said:

    excellent–way to get your hands dirty! your meaty sauce is exactly what i want to eat on a cold, cold day.

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