Monday, 12 October 2015

Classic Ragu Sauce. The Chiappas.

Classic Ragu Sauce | The Chiappas
Welsh-Italian chef Michela Chiappa.
The best Ragu Sauce to my taste!

The real secret to this dish is simmering for 3 hours. It changes the taste as the meat is soft and tender and no tinned tomatoes are needed!


100g smoked pancetta, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, peeled and finely chopped
1kg good-quality beef mince
Good glug of red wine
140g tomato purée
2 beef stock cubes
2 bay leaves
Parmesan, to serve
Extra virgin olive oil

Put a large pan on a medium heat.
Once hot add the smoked pancetta and fry for 2-3 minutes on a low heat, or until starting to crisp up.
Then add the red onion, carrot and celery.
Stir together and sweat for roughly 10 minutes with lid on, or until soft and translucent.
Next add your beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until the beef has browned.
Add a good swig of red wine and keep stirring.
The aim is to burn off the alcohol leaving just a hint of the lovely wine flavour.
Add the tomato purée and stir into the sauce, then add 500ml (OR LESS!) of boiling water from the kettle and crumble in the beef stock cubes and the bay leaves.
Put the lid on and simmer for 3 hours to let the flavours intensify and the beef break down.

To serve the dish:
When ready to cook the pasta, place a large casserole dish on the heat and fill with boiling water and a generous pinch of salt.
Cook the pasta for approximately 2 minutes (although this will depend on the thickness of your pasta).
Always taste it and you want it soft but ‘al dente,’ which means the pasta will have a subtle bite to it.
It should not turn to mush as this is overcooked.
To serve place the pasta in a pan with the hot sauce.
You should only use 1-2 tablespoons of sauce per portion – don’t overload the sauce; the pasta should not be swimming in bolognaise!
Mix the pasta and sauce on the heat so that the sauce coats the pasta.
Add a splash of pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce and finish with a grating of parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Serve immediately to avoid the pasta overcooking!

Cook’s tips:
You can use dried pasta with this sauce if you don’t have time to make fresh pasta.
Simply use about 1kg of pasta for 8-10 people.
This recipe works brilliantly with tagliatelle.
Avoid using spaghetti as a wider pasta holds the sauce better.
This recipe is fantastic to make in a large batch and then freeze in individual portions – it takes time to make a really tasty ragu so it’s worth making lots so you can enjoy after a hard day’s work!
Heat the sauce from frozen.
Always taste as you go for seasoning – we love lots of parmesan as this avoids having to use too much salt.
But before you mix your pasta into your sauce, check it for salt, pepper and parmesan.

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