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Posts Tagged ‘Ragu’

Ragu di salsicce e broccoletti

This simple dish satisfied the cravings we get at this time of year for lots of greens. We thought the suggestion of serving it with rice, rather than pasta, a bit unusual but it was perfect. Seek out top-quality Italian pork sausages if you can. We can buy them fairly easily now in Dublin but have been known in the past to beg the local Italian restaurant to sell us some – so  you could try that tactic if they’re not readily available where you are.

Wine Suggestion: This is a characterful dish so the wine you choose needs to have character and presence to match. We opened a MorisFarms Mandriolo, a fresh and vibrant blend of mostly Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot from the Maremma in Tuscany. Being typically Italian the fresh acidity cut through the richness of this dish and proved a delightful match: we couldn’t determine if the hints of fennel came from the wine or the Italian sausages used … or maybe both.

Ragú di salsicce e broccoletti – Creamy sausage & broccoli ragú – serves 4

  • 200g long grain rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallion, roughly chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 6 good-quality Italian pork sausages, removed from their skins
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli, chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 50ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
  • 100ml crème fraîche
  • 30g Parmesan, grated (to serve)

Steam the rice in a rice cooker or according to the instructions on the pack.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the scallions and thyme leaves for a couple of minutes.

Break up the sausage meat with your fingers,  add to the frying pan and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli pieces and continue to cook for 3 minutes.

Pour in the wine and cook for another couple of minutes, then stir in the stock powder and crème fraîche. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Serve the ragù over the rice and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Campo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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This recipe comes in two parts, with the first an easy to make a Bolognese Ragù which tastes good but is not really exciting or flavour-packed like we like. When created into a lasagne, however, it really sings with a perfect balance of flavour.

The recipe takes a while, but is actually quite easy, especially if you make the ragù the day before. We made two lasagne this time which served eight people over two days amply. Alternately, make a big tray of it for a larger crowd.

Ragù – serves 6-8

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 1 kg minced beef/pork (or half and half)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml white or red wine
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300°F/Gas mark 2.

Put a large ovenproof casserole on a medium heat and heat the olive oil. Tip in the onion, garlic, celery and leek. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Turn the heat to high, add the meat and stir to break up, cooking until there are no longer any pink bits.

Add the bay leaf with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and sugar, and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour in the oven. Season to taste.

Lasagne – serves 6-8

  • 1 quantity of cooked ragù
  • 12-16 sheets of pre-cooked dried lasagne
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE 

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 200g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

First make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking continuously until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese and mustard, seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Put a thin layer of ragù in the bottom of an ovenproof dish (20 x 30cm), cover with a layer of the cheese sauce, then add lasagne sheets to cover, in a single layer. Repeat this process, finishing with a layer of pasta topped with cheese sauce only.

Sprinkle over both cheeses and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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Cooked on an afternoon off and then shared with friends … perfect. This takes some time, particularly as you need to roast the duck first, but it is worth it.

Slow-roasted Duck Ragú – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 Duck, try to get a Gressingham or at least free-range for extra flavour
  • 2 oranges, 1 quartered – the other zested & juiced
  • 6 slices Pancetta, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 6 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 bottle fruity red wine, we used a Chianti
  • 500ml Chicken Stock
  • a handful of sultanas
  • a handful of pinenuts
  • 600g Rigatoni, or other large tubular pasta
  • 2 knobs butter
  • large handful Parmesan, grated
  • small bunch parsley, chopped
  • red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Rub duck all over with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Push the orange quarters inside the cavity and place the duck breast-side down in a roasting tray. Cook for 2 hours, turning it every 30 minutes until the skin goes thin and crispy and the meat is tender and fragrant with the oranges.

Remove the duck from the tray and pour the fat into a jar, making sure you avoid the meat juice the fat is floating upon. This fat can be used to roast potatoes another day.

Leave the duck to cool slightly then pull all the meat from the bones and shred it.

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large pot and fry the pancetta on a medium heat until lightly golden. Add the onion, carrots, celery, rosemary, garlic and cinnamon and fry gently for 10 minutes until soft.

Add the tomatoes and red wine and simmer slowly for 25 minutes.

Add the duck meat and some chicken stock (if the sauce is a little dry) and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon stick, taste for seasoning and throw in the sultanas and pinenuts.

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Reserve some cooking water, then drain in colander and add to the sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, Parmesan, parsley, orange zest and juice plus a good splash of vinegar.

Check for seasoning again and loosen with the reserved cooking water if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Wine suggestion: A perfect match for a deep and profound Brunello di Montalcino or your favourite Tuscan red. Alternately look out for a good Bandol or Mourvedre based wine where the earthiness will also compliment the duck and pasta.

(Original recipe from Cook by Jamie Oliver, Penguin Books, 2009.)

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Italians don’t serve Bolognese with spaghetti or make a really runny tomato sauce like us Irish, so we went to our Italian experts for guidance: Giorgio Locatteli came up trumps. Jono also got to practice his new pasta trick which he’s somewhat obsessed with.

Ragù alla bolognese – serves 8 generously (but don’t divide the recipe, just make the lot and freeze it in small tubs -ready meals!)

  • 2 kg of minced beef neck (you may need to order this – chump will do if you can’t get it)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • a large sprig of rosemary and one of sage, tied together
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a bottle of red wine
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 litre of tomato passata
Take the meat out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, spread  it out on a tray. This will make it sear rather than boil when you put it in the pan.
Heat the oil in a wide bottomed saucepan and add vegetables, herbs and whole garlic cloves and sweat over a high heat for 5-8 minutes without colouring – you need to keep stirring.
Season the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the vegetables making sure it covers the base of the saucepan. Don’t touch it for 5-6 minutes so it seals underneath and heats through. Careful your vegetables don’t burn – you can add a bit more oil if you need to.
Stir the meat and veg every few minutes for about 10-12 minutes until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the wine and let it reduce to almost nothing. Add the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes – keep stirring.
Add the passata with one litre of water, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half. Add a bit of water now and again if necessary, until you have a thick sauce. (You could also cook it in the oven at 120C if you prefer).
When you’re ready to serve, heat the ragù, cook your pasta (preferably pappardelle, tagliatelle, or short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the pasta to the ragu and toss well – add some cooking water if you need to loosen the sauce a bit.
Serve with freshly grated pecorino.
(Original recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s ‘Made in Italy: Food & Stories’)

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