Rigatoni with Ragu Bolognese

I love food that is hearty and comforting, stews, slow braises, and meat sauce anything just to name a few.  When I go out to Italian restaurants, I have to force myself from ordering the ragu or bolognese.  I can’t help but gravitate to it because I know it’s probably gonna be solid with no surprises.  I figure if I’m going out to try a new restaurant, then I should order something different.  Anyways, I came across this recipe from Darin Dines and I wanted to see if I could recreate this yumminess.  If I could get my ragu fix at home, maybe I wouldn’t gravitate toward it so much when I’m out.

So the recipe is very interesting because you use a food processor to munch up a ton of garlic and pancetta.

You then fry this up and try to resist the intoxicating aroma of fat, pork, and garlic making love in your pan.

Then add the soffrito.  I wasn’t quite sure what this was made up of, but I just used celery, onions, and tomatoes.

Add the tomato paste and meat.

Add the wine and stock.

Reduce for 2 hours.  I cheated because I didn’t know the recipe required so much time. I think I only simmered it for an hour or maybe less.

Add milk for some creaminess and the pasta.  There were all these instruction about finishing it off with more olive oil, butter, cheese, etc.  I just used what I had on hand.

Ragu Bolognese (The Mozza Cookbook)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

8 Garlic cloves

2.5 oz pancetta, rougly chopped or groun

1 cup suffrito

1/2 of a 4.5 oz tube double concentrate tomato paste

1 pound ground veal

1 pound ground pork

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 cup dry white win

3 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup whole milk

1. Combine oil and garlic in bowl of a food processor. Add pancetta and puree until ingredients form a homogenous paste

2. Cook mixture over medium heat until the fat from the pancetta is rendered, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from browning.

3. Stir in the soffritto and cook for about 1 minute.

4. Move the vegetables to create a bare spot in the pan, add the tomato paste to that spot and cook for 1 minute.

5. Add veal and pork, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the juices released from the meat have cooked off and the pan is almost dry, about 10 minutes.

6. Add the wine, increase heat to medium high and cook until the wine has evaporated and the pan is almost dry, about 10 minutes.

7. Add the chicken stock, bring it to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the stock has almost all cooked off but the pan is not completely dry.

8. Add the milk and simmer until the ragu returns to a thick, saucy consistency, 30-40 minutes.

9. Use the ragu, or allow it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container.

Finishing the Pasta

Kosher salt

3/4 cup chicken stock or pasta water

3 tsp unsalted better

12 oz pasta

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 tbsp freshly pecorino romano

1. Combine 1.5 cups of the ragu, the chicken stock and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.

2. Stir ingredients to combine and heat until the butter is melted and sauce is warmed through, adding more chicken stock if necessary to obtain a loose sauce consistency

3. Turn off the heat while the pasta is cooking.

4. Cook pasta until 1 minute from being done.

5. Place sauce over high heat. Lift pasta out of cooking water, drain and immediately add to the pan with the sauce.
6. Cook the pasta with the sauce for 2 minutes, stirring gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t tear the pasta. Add pasta water if the pasta is dry and sticky instead of slippery and glistening. 7. Turn off the heat and add the finishing quality olive oil, stirring vigorously and shaking the pan to emulsify the sauce.

8. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino romano and stir to combine.
9. Plate pasta and use a microplane or fine grater to grate a light layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano over plate and serve

 

The dish turned out pretty nice, but it was a whole lot of effort.  I suppose it’s one of the better ragus I’ve made, but I guess that’s not saying much since I usually use store bought Italian sausage combined with jarred tomato sauce.  It was meaty, and had a nice saltiness from the pancetta.  Even though the recipe called for so much garlic, it really was not overpowering.  The recipe makes a lot of sauce.  I actually saved half it and froze it to eat later.  Still turned out well, but a little on the dry side.  I totally forgot about the finish steps to add the butter, olive oil, and stock.  That probably would have revived it to its original meaty juicy state.  I think I’ll tuck this recipe in my collection and remember to actually cook it for 2 hours next time.  And yes, I’ll probably still order ragu when I dine out.  I love it too much.

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