From Bologna, Italy: Homemade Ragù

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This yummy pasta sauce is one we are probably all familiar with. It’s the kind of sauce you think of when someone says “pasta with meat sauce”. There are fourteen recognized variations of ragù, but the most popular two are ragù alla napoletana from Naples, and this one, ragù alla bolognese from Bologna. This one is made to go with tagliatelle and other flat noodled pastas.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsb each of parsley, sage, rosemary
  • 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (see bottom)
  • 250g ground beef
  • 150g ground pork
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 glass of a strong red wine
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, and herbs. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a large bowl filled with cold water in the sink. Put the fresh tomatoes into a pot of cool water (enough to cover them) and bring the water to a boil on the stove. When the tomatoes start to split their skins, leave them in for only another 10-15 seconds or else they will become very mushy and difficult to remove. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the water with a pair of tongs and plunge them into the bowl of cold water. Then peel the split skins off of the tomatoes, and mash them with a fork in a new bowl. The skins should peel off quite easily.

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To your simmering vegetables, stir in the ground meat and add the lemon zest. Continue stirring and simmering until the meat is brown and crumbled. Pour in the wine and bring the sauce to a boil.

The purpose of bringing the sauce to a boil is to evaporate the alcohol. If you don’t mind a little alcohol content in your sauce then you don’t have to bring it to a boil for very long.

Add your pureed (mashed) tomatoes along with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least two to three hours.

How much is 3/4 pounds of fresh tomatoes? If you don’t have a scale, it can be hard to tell.

For this recipe, you want 3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes to give you 2 1/4 cups of tomato puree, which is 500g.

3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes is approximately:

  • 3 small round tomatoes (3-4 ounces each)
  • 2 medium round tomatoes (5-6 ounces each)
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes (0.5-2 ounces each)
  • 6 plum or Roma tomatoes (2 ounces each)

1 pound of fresh tomatoes gives you 3 cups of tomato puree, which is 675g.

1 pound of fresh tomatoes is approximately:

  • 4 small round tomatoes (3-4 ounces each)
  • 3 medium round tomatoes (5-6 ounces each)
  • 2 large round tomatoes (7 ounces each or more)
  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes (0.5-2 ounces each)
  • 8 plum or Roma tomatoes (2 ounces each)

This sauce is meaty and chunky and is great on the tagliatelle. If you are looking for a more “tomato-red” sauce, just add more tomatoes in. Enjoy!

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3 Comments on From Bologna, Italy: Homemade Ragù

  1. Looks great with the fresh tomatoes. It’s about that time of winter for some ragu. Cool post!

    Like

  2. Great post. I continuously check this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part.

    Thank you and good luck.

    Like

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