Ragu could be my favourite dish to cook. You begin with layering textures, flavours and aromatics then patiently wait for everything to come together into one synergistic finale.
There are many types of ragus found throughout Italy including Ragu Bolognese which has the addition of milk and almost no tomato, or Ragu Napolitane which has whole pieces of meat that flavour the tomato and are then removed and eaten as a second course to your pasta. Small additions or techniques can make big differences in a ragu which is what makes each family recipe so special and personal.
Ragu Marchigiano comes from the central region of Le Marche and has many variations. Here, I am providing the very basic recipe for this ragu, but often offal (such as chicken livers) or finely chopped rehydrated porcini mushrooms are added. What makes this ragu particularly Marchese to me is the addition of cloves which gives a comforting and somehow familiar aroma that I love.
- 150 grams of finely diced pancetta
- 300 grams of ground pork
- 300 grams of ground lamb
- 300 grams of ground beef
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 x 680ml jars of tomato passata
- 1 ½ cups of dry white wine
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 3 tablespoons of Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- Fry the pancetta in the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium sized heavy bottom pot until golden brown.
- Add the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf and rosemary, allow to fry until lightly golden.
- Add the ground meats and continue to fry, stirring frequently, until the meat begins to colour.
- Add the white wine and allow to boil for 1 minute.
- Add the passata, salt and cloves. Rinse the passata jar with water and add to the pot.
- Allow the ragu to simmer with the lid ajar for approximately 90 minutes, stir occasionally.
- If the ragu becomes too thick as it cooks add a little more water to prevent burning. The finished ragu should be thick and rich.
- Season to taste with more salt if needed and remove the cloves.
- Allow your ragu to rest for 30 minutes before serving which allows the flavours to marry better.
- Toss with your desired cut of pasta, I prefer tagliatelle for Ragù Marchigiano.
Chef Costa suggests pairing this dish with the De Angelis Rosso Piceno Superiore, a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese from Le Marche.
Chef Daniel Costa is the chef/owner of Corso32, Bar Bricco and Uccellino.
Photo credit: Anorak Media