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Abruzzo-Style Ragu with Pappardelle

Abruzzo-Style Ragu with Pappardelle

This pasta dish is sure to become a family favourite during the cooler months.

Abruzzo-Style Ragu with Pappardelle

Serves 4

 

2 x 400g tins of Mutti Polpa Finely Chopped Tomatoes

100g smoked pancetta, cut into 2cm cubes

1 garlic clove, skin on, bashed with the palm of your hand

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

2–3 juniper berries, crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 sprig thyme

4–5 marjoram leaves

250g beef mince

150g sausage meat, taken out of its casing

200ml red wine

2 cups stock

1–2 bay leaves

Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper

400g of fresh Pappardelle

Freshly grated pecorino, to serve

 

To make the Ragu, cook the pancetta cubes and garlic in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until the pancetta has rendered most of its fat and looks caramelised. Set aside to rest.

Discard the garlic and most of the pancetta fat. Add the olive oil, the chopped carrot, onion and celery, juniper berries (slightly crushed in a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin), thyme and marjoram, then cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add in the beef mince and sausage meat and brown over high heat for 5 minutes, then return the pancetta to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer away until the alcohol has evaporated. Pour in the Mutti Polpa and stock, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Add the bay leaves, season generously with salt and cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 4–6 hours, stirring occasionally. If it starts to dry out, add a little water.

Towards the end of the cooking time, taste for salt and adjust accordingly, and season with white pepper.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, drop in the pappardelle and cook for 2 minutes or until al dente. Drain well, but be sure to reserve a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to add to the Ragu. This little trick will help bind the sauce and create a richer, creamier texture.

Toss the pappardelle with the meat sauce, dust with pecorino and fresh thyme leaves.

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