RAGÙ ALLA BOLOGNESE

Ragù alla Bolognese, not to be confused with Ragú ™, and commonly called Bolognese in the US, is the queen of Italian cuisine. Originally from the Bologna region, it is a staple in Italy’s home cooking and restaurants alike.

Most everyone has their own recipe and variation, but historically back in 17 October 1982 the original recipe was registered at Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce by the Italian Academy of Cuisine, and that is indeed the absolute best recipe there is for flavor, texture and . . . labor of love. Highly recommended as an exercise in culinary achievements and a walk down memory lane of fabulous meals experienced on an Italian vacation.

This is the original recipe – as registered in 1982 – translated into English:

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 lb ground beef
8 oz pancetta, diced
75 grams of carrots, minced
75 grams of red onion, minced
75 grams of celery, minced
1 lbs of tomatoes, crushed
100 ml of dry white wine
200 ml of whole milk
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cups of quality (home-made) beef stock, nothing from a can or cardboard, please.

Preparation:

Have the beef stock simmering in a pot.

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the pancetta for 2-3 minutes until the fat is starting to become translucent (do not overcook it).

Add the olive oil, wait a few second until it’s hot, and then add the mixture of onion, celery and carrots, med-low heat, for 5-6 minutes (do not overcook it).

Add the ground beef, and sear it stirring continuously until it’s thoroughly cooked and browned.

Add the wine, continue stirring, until the wine has evaporated completely.

Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer (on low) stirring frequently – and adding the beef stock as needed 1-2 tablespoons at the time – for 1.5 hours.

Add the milk, and continue cooking a slow simmer for an additional 30 minutes, still adding beef stock as needed.

You should have plenty of beef stock left, do not use the entire 4-5 cup as listed above.

Add salt to taste, but it should be pretty much OK as is since the beef stock will give the ragù enough flavor.

Sources: Accademia Italiana della Cucina

NOTES:

  1. Now you have a nice batch of ragù, you can serve it on top of virtually any type of pasta you wish, in Bologna the quintessential use is on tagliatelle, but maltagliati or pappardelle would do; best if fresh pasta.
  2. For best result let the ragù rest in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Reheat gently before serving.
  3. If it is to be used on top of dry pasta, add 100 grams of cream (whipping cream) at the end of the cooking cycle, or before reheating.

POLPETTONE (Italian meatloaf)

polpettone

this is for Tony 🙂

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef
1lb ground turkey
salt qb
3 cups bread (stale french bread works best)
arugula, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 oz parmigiano
1.5 cups milk
breadcrumbs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Soak bread in milk until all milk is absorbed.

Then, mix all ingredients except for the breadcrumbs together in a large bowl.

Transfer mixture to parchment paper. Roll paper to form loaf.

Slowly add breadcrumbs (enough to make loaf compact yet soft).

Place loaf in glass baking pan.

Cook in oven about 1.5 hours until golden. Use meat thermometer to check temperature – should be 160+ degrees.

CARLINA’s RAGU

Garganelli with ragu
Ingredients:

1/2lb ground beef
1/2lb ground turkey
1 Italian sausage
0.25lb chicken liver (optional)
1 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6oz tomato paste

Preparation:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, turkey, sausage and liver.

Once meat is cooked, add carrots and celery and cook for additional 5 minutes.

Add entire can of tomato paste and one can of water to skillet. Stir and cook for additional 10 minutes on low heat.

Enjoy over good Italian pasta such as Garganelli (our favorite!)

CHICKEN CARLINA

chicken_carlina
Ingredients:

2lbs chickens (5 legs/5 thighs)
1 large red onion sliced
6 cloves of minced garlic
olive oil (to coat chicken)
fresh basil chopped
fresh parsley chopped
dried oregano
salt
pepper
1.5 cups of red wine vinegar
0.75 cups of water

Preparation:

Place onions and chicken in roasting pan. Coat evenly with 4-6 tbsp olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Turn chicken and repeat seasoning with oil, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Pour red wine vinegar and water underneath chicken and place parsley and basil on top.

Roast uncovered in oven 375 for 1.5 hours or until done.

Best if served over rice or quinoa, but a side of broccoli works as well.

BRAISED LAMB SHANK

Ingredients:
1 onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp rosemary chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp thyme
4 lamb shanks

Preparation:

Brown lamb shanks on the stove top in olive oil for 5 minutes.

Chop onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor and add to pan with lamb shanks. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, turning the lamb shank over and stirring every 5 mins.

Add tomato paste and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Next add wine, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Finally, add 3-4 cups of water to submerge lamb shanks. Cook for 2 hours over med-low heat stirring often until liquid is reduced to stew-like consistency.

SPEZZATINO (inspired by Mimma)

Ingredients:

2lbs round boneless stewing beef
1 onion
1 can of chunky tomatoes
red wine
2 carrots finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
salt
1 potato (optional)
1 carrot sliced (optional)

Preparation:

Chop onion and saute until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook another 5 minutes.

Add beef to pan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.

Next, add 1 cup of red wine and stir. Once wine has cooked down add can of tomatoes.

Cook stew covered for 1.5 hours on medium-low flame.

PORK ROAST

Ingredients:

4lbs of pork
2 bay leaves
11 juniper berries
golden raisins
vegetable broth

Preparation:

Cut fat off pork roast and place in large non-stick skillet with a little olive oil.

Add bay leaves, juniper berries and vegetable broth and cook roast on each side, 10 minutes at a time.

After 20 minutes, add wine and keep turning roast over every 10 minutes. Add wine if necessary to keep moist.

Add raisins after 1 hour and allow roast to cook for a total of 1.5hours.

CHIANTI and (MOCK) WILD BOAR SAUCE, TUSCANY STYLE

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 9oz package of Gardein home style beefless tips (or 9-12 oz of wild boar meat, cut into 1″ cubes)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
leaves of 2-3 spring of fresh rosemary (about 3-4″ each), chopped
1 glass of chianti wine, or other red wine of your choice (not fruity)
2 oz of tomato paste (about 1/3 of a small can)
1 teaspoon cacao (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
7 juniper berries (optional)

mock-wild-boar-sauce

chianti wine

Tomato Paste

Preparation:

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil:

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat), clustering it on one layer in the center of the saucpan:

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat)

Pile on top of the “meat” the chopped onions, chopped garlic, and chopped rosemary leaves (and the optional cacao, bay leaf, and juniper berries):

Wild Boar Sauce, Tuscany Style

Cover the saucepan and simmer at medium for about 5 minutes:

Simmer for 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti, and from now on deglaze the pan every so often:

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Let it rest while you cook the pasta of your choice, best bet is home made pappardelle or maltagliati:

pappardelle or maltagliat

“Serve it with arrogance!” (Julia Childs)

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{Photography © 2010 by Toscana Enterprises Corporation, all rights reserved}

GNUDI or GNUDONI

gnudi.jpg

Ingredients:

1 pound loose spinach
12 ounces ricotta
3 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
Nutmeg
Salt
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation:

Cook spinach in very little water. Drain and squeeze out all excess water. Chop finely. Place in a large mixing bowl and add ricotta, eggs, parmigiano, and flour. Blend well.

Bring to boil large pot of salted water. Lower to simmer. Season spinach mixture with salt and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg. Form ravioli by using a spoon or using floured hands.

Drop a few at a time into water. They will drop the bottom and then float to the top when done. Let simmer 20-30 seconds.

Remove with slotted spoon or ladle and place in an oven-proof dish until ready to serve. Serve with fresh sage leaves sautéed in butter until crisp.

Pour butter and sage on top of ravioli, toss gently, and serve with parmesan cheese or tomato sauce.

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Photography by Trozbo

FALAFEL

falafel

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs, unseasoned
Oil for frying or nonstick vegetable spray

Preparation:

In food processor place onion, parsley, and garlic. Pulse until finely minced. Add drained chickpeas and pulse just until they are mashed, but not a paste You want very small chunks of beans. (You could also press the garlic, grate the onion, and mash the chickpeas with a fork, if you don’t have a food processor.)

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the egg white, cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne, lemon juice, baking powder, and olive oil. Stir in the bread crumbs. Chill for 15 minutes to allow the crumbs to soak up the liquids and the patties will hold together better.

Heat a small amount of oil in a nonstick frying pan, or spray with nonstick spray. Heat pan over medium-low. Form patties from 1/8 cup of falafel mixture. These are very soft so keep them more rounded, as they will flatten slightly when turned. Fry patties until golden brown on each side. Serve with Tzatziki sauce. Makes about 14 patties.

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Photography by Yummyporky