Eight Bells

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

John Torode's Ragu

Ragu is an italian term for a meat based sauce, usually served with pasta. This ragu sauce is taken from John Torode's excellent newish book "Beef" and is his take on the traditional Italian bolognese sauce.
Spaghetti bolognese is a little boring and in his book John presents the sauce with gnocchi so I have chosen to do the same. I won't give you the gnocchi recipe here as you will be able to find it on this blog under my May 24th 2010 post. I'll present the recipe exactly as it appears in John's book and I'll note any slight changes we made.
If you love bolognese sauce but you've never made it from scratch you really should give this a go, it's incredibly easy and is far superior to any of the awful, sugary, pre prepared sauces you will find in the supermarket. This sauce will serve four-six people.

Ragu alla Bolognese

1kg minced beef (avoid supermarket mince, you need a really good mince from a decent butcher. You want a mince with plenty of fat, we got ours from Wholly Cow at the Hamilton farmer's market)
200ml red wine (again, don't skimp here, if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it)
60ml vegetable or olive oil (we used olive oil)
2 large onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
A good shake of dried herbs such as oregano or thyme but not a lot (we used a teaspoon of each)
3 x 400g cans of plum tomatoes
20g tomato paste, about half a tube (we used about 40g of tomato paste)

Take the meat and massage the red wine into it so that the mince absorbs it. Heat a big, heavy pan. Add the oil and onions and cook gently (or sweat) until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, a good amount of ground pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Stir and stir until the garlic starts to give off a fragrant aroma.
Add the meat and herbs and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes until the meat starts to get a little colour. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for two hours (we cooked ours for 3 1/2 hours just to intensify the flavour a little more), stirring every half an hour or so. Taste, adjust the seasoning as necessary then serve with any pasta or gnocchi.


At 4:53 PM, Anonymous ana said...

Hi Julian

just discovered your recipe for Moroccan chicken with pumpkin. It is a little similar to a favourite of mine from Taste au. Such an excellent one. Thanks so much for putting this online.

Love your blog!!


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