Monday, March 05, 2007

Tagliatelle con il ragu'

I am talking about ragu' alla bolognese. This ragu' is not meant to be cooked with spaghetti!

This is something so obvious to me. Any sauce will have a better kind of pasta to go with...the roughness of egg pasta and tagliatelle is the perfect match for this sauce.

This is how I make it.

First of all I use a very large saute' pan for starting the sauce, in order to sweat and brown all the ingredients properly.

I prep a good quantity of onions, carrots and celery. For about 800 g of meat I use 2 medium onions, some amount of carrots and half of the celery, everything in macedoine size (.5 cm).
I start sweating the onion with evoo and a knot of butter, as soon as it soften, I add the celery, and after a couple minutes the carrots. I like to add a little bit of minced pancetta. Here, it really makes a difference to use some chicken liver in the ragu'. Clean a couple livers from tough parts and chop with a chef knife. Since the liver has the tendency to tie up to other ingredients, push the vegetables on the side and add the liver in the center of the pan. As soon as it changes color, make sure to break it with the wooden spoon, mix with the other ingredients.
Again I push the vegetables on the sides and start browning the meat in the center. I keep my heat on high, make sure I have enough fat to brown the meat. I like a mix of pork and ground beef. If the pan is large enough the meat will not release its own juice. As soon as I see it browning I break with the spoon any lumps and mix it with the other ingredients. I usually start with half of the meat, brown, mix with the vegetagles, put at at sides and keep going with the rest of it.

At this poing I add a little bit of tomato paste, like a couple tablespoons and brown. This is something my chef instructor at the FCI used to do and I kept the habit: he tought that browing the tomato paste will avoid the metallic taste that often this industrial tomato paste has. Then I deglaze with red wine (warm), making sure to scrape all the "sucs" from the bottom of the pan. I would add something like 400 ml of hot whole milk, a little at a time, more or less dipends if I feel I need more. When it looks nice and creamy, I pour the sauce in a taller pot, I add a big can of peeled tomatoes (whick I usually crush by hand), if I feel I need the sauce to be a little more runny I add some hot water. I add some coarse salt and a bay leaf. I bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours

For tagliatelle.

Usually there is the rule of 100 g flour to one egg. But I find so much difference in the protein levels of flour that i usually beat the eggs on the side and start adding to the flour the 90% of it. Then I usually wet my hands in the remaining eggs while I am kneaking the dough. Tagliatelle dough, in particular, should feel pretty stiff.
I wrap the dough in plastic paper and let rest for half an hour. The most of the times I use the imperia machine to roll my dough. If I find the dough too humid, I will dust it with rice starch or any other starch rather than flour. Let rest the sheet of pasta until it doesn't feel any more humid but not dry to the point it will crumble. It is better to let it rest on a pasta board. Cut in tagliatelle leave to dry a little bit before forming the nests

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