Homemade pasta al ragù is a wonderful classic Italian dish and is surprisingly easy to make. As is often the case with Italian food, simplicity is key – but of course you can add vegetables or other meats to the ragù if you wish. This is a child friendly version. You will need a pasta rolling machine to make the tagliatelle.
FRESH PASTA DOUGH
200 g plain 00 flour
pinch of salt
Semolina flour for dusting
Sift the flour and salt into a mound on your work surface, making a little hole in the middle, where you pour in the beaten eggs. Incorporate the flour and eggs slowly with your fingers and kneed quite strongly for 10 minutes until the dough is quite elastic – if you find it to be too firm, add a little water, and conversely if it’s too wet add a little flour – then shape it into a ball and leave to rest for 20 minutes under a cloth. Kneed the dough once more and feed it into the pasta machine, from the largest setting to a medium (usually indicated as 4), passing the dough sheet a few times, always sprinkling a little semolina flour between the sheets. Cut out to tagliatelle size, sprinkle with a little more semolina flour and leave to dry for about 1 hour.When you cook it will won’t take more than 5 minutes in boiling water.
400g Minced Beef and Pork (a 70:30 mix works best if you can get it, otherwise pure beef)
1 White onion
2 Carrots (peeled and cut in half)
2 Celery sticks (cut the same size as carrots)
1lt Tomato Passata
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil: We used Tradizione from Frantoio Viola in Umbria
Red wine (a good glut)
A small piece of parmesan rind
Maldon salt and milled black pepper
We have a household issue with ragu – our small boys don’t like pieces in it. So we have to make it as smooth as possible, the way you might find it in a restaurant. This is a classic Tuscan version.Peel the onion and slice in half. Place in a large deep frying pan that has a lid and simmer very gently in extra virgin olive oil for 7 minutes – this gives a sweet aroma to the oil. Remove the onion. Then in the same oil, gently cook the minced meat until it has released all it’s liquid, stirring often so it browns well and the mince separates. Add a generous glug of red wine and keep mixing and breaking the mince into small pieces.Once it has absorbed the wine add in the passata, a bit more wine red wine (better wine makes better ragu), the carrots, celery, and if you have it a piece of parmesan rind. Season to taste.Cover the pan and simmer very gently for at least an hour. If the ragu is drying out at all, add in some water. Once it’s ready remove the carrots, celery and cheese rind.You can make this in advance – it’s best on day 2 (or it freezes well) or enjoy straight away.Once mixed with your tagliatelle, finish with a further drizzle of a decisive central Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We particularly like Moraiolo for this.