Ragù for baked pasta

Ragù per pasta al forno. This is used for many dishes – lasagne, baked ziti etc. There are many recipes, but the proportion of meat to tomato is always similar. One of the most common mistakes people make is to add too much tomato. If you have time, the flavour improves if you make it the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight. Enough for 4-6 portions of pasta.

  • 300g minced beef
  • 75g carrot, finely chopped
  • 75g onion, finely chopped
  • 50g celery, finely chopped
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 250g passata
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, carrot and celery. Fry gently for a few minutes until the onions start to go translucent.
  2. Add the meat and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until it is well browned.
  3. Add the wine and continue cooking until it has almost completely evaporated.
  4. Add the passata, season with salt and cover.
  5. Cook very slowly for at least 2 hours. Add a little water if it starts to dry out.
  6. At the end of cooking, season with freshly ground black pepper.
Ragù for baked pasta

Ragù for baked pasta

Ragu alla Barese

Bari crestThis is another recipe from Tiziana (many thanks). This one of the most common ‘Sunday lunches’ in Bari. I think it’s known as “Sunday gravy” in the Sates. The recipe doesn’t give very precise measurements as it depends how many people you are cooking for and your personal taste.  As a rough guide allow 2-300g of meat per person. Tiziana usually serves the ragu with orecchiette, but you can use your favourite pasta. Serve the meat separately as the second course.

Ragu alla Barese ingredients

Ragu alla Barese ingredients

  • Thin slices of meat (you can use beef, veal, pork, or horse meat),flattened with meat mallet
  • Pieces of lamb (preferably on the bone)
  • Lardo(salted lard) or prosciutto fat or fatty pancetta
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Pepper
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • Passata or tomato pulp
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  1. Chop together the lardo, parsley, garlic, pepper and pecorino to make a coarse paste.
  2. Place a little of the paste in the middle of each slice of meat. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Take a large pan(NOT nonstick) and add the onion, some olive oil, the meat rolls, the lamb pieces and half a glass of water.
  4. Cook over a high heat making sure that the meat catches on the bottom of the pan but doesn’t burn. Scrape the pan frequently with a wooden spoon. This is an important step as it contributes a lot of the flavour of the sauce.
  5. Add the wine and allow to evaporate
  6. Add enough passata to cover the meat well
  7. Cook over a very low heat until the meat is tender. (A slow cooker would be ideal)
  8. A few minutes before the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper.
  9. For the best results, allow to cool, refrigerate over night and reheat the next day.
  10. When you are ready to serve, remove the meat and keep warm.
  11. Serve the sauce with pasta as the first course followed by the meat as the second course.
Ragu alla Barese orecchiette

Ragu alla Barese orecchiette

Ragu alla Barese meat

Ragu alla Barese meat

Linguine with cuttlefish ragu

Linguine al ragu di seppia. Serves 6

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

  • 6 medium cuttlefish, cleaned, whole
  • 100g  onion,sliced
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1kg chopped tomato (fresh or tinned)
  • 600g linguine
  • 100g pecorino pugliese, grated
  1. Fry the onions in plenty of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the cuttlefish and fry on all sides.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook over a low heat for around 3/4 hour.
  3. When the cuttlefish are tender, remove from the sauce and keep warm.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. It probably wont need much salt as the cuttlefish can be quite salty.
  5. Dress the cooked pasta with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with the pecorino and parsley. Top each portion with one of the cuttlefish.

linguine with cuttlefish ragu finished dish

Note: If the cuttlefish are quite large, you may prefer to serve them as the second course.

Tagliatelle with sausage and vegetable ragu

Serves 4

tagliatelle with sausage and vegetable ragu ingredients

  •   500 grams  fresh tagliatelle
  •   1      medium  carrot — roughly chopped
  •   1      stick  celery — roughly chopped
  •   1      medium  red onion — roughly chopped
  •   1      medium  courgette — diced
  •   400 grams  italian sausage — skinned
  •   2      tablespoons  cream
  •   1      glass  red wine
  •           olive oil
  •           salt
  •           parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Fry the carrot, celery and onion in a little olive oil for a few minutes.l
  2. Add the courgettes and cook for a few minutes longer.
  3. Add the sausage and mix well. Season with salt and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add the wine and allow it to partially evaporate.
  5. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 20 mins
  6. Remove from the heat and add the cream
  7. Serve with tagliatelle and parmesan.

taglatelle with sausage and vegetable ragu finished dish

Orecchiette with braciole and ragu

Don’t panic when I tell you the main ingredient is horsemeat :-) It works just as well with beef. Thanks to Antonella for the recipe. If you are wondering why there are more photos than normal, I prepared this dish so I could post the recipe on another forum. If you like you can serve the sauce with the pasta as the first course, and the braciole as the second course.

Ingredients for 4 people

Braciole ingredients

Braciole ingredients

  • 400g of pasta
  • 400g thinly sliced steak (horse or beef)
  • A few cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • A few spigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • Some grated Grana or parmesan
  • 500g tomatoes – If you can’t get really ripe ones, use tinned.
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • Cocktail sticks

And last but not least :-)

Good red wine

Good red wine

  • It can be served with just about any type of pasta, but here they use orecchiette (little ears).
  • First peel, deseed and chop the tomatoes. It’s much easier if you cut an x in each one and blanch for about a minute. The skin virtually falls off.
  • Then prepare the braciole. Cut the meat into stips about 5cm wide. Put a little garlic, parsley and Grana on each strip. Roll up and fasten with a cocktail stick
Assembling the braciole

Assembling the braciole

    1. Brown the braciole in a heavy pot – one that’s good for slow cooking. Remove and put to one side.
    2. Add the carrot, onion and celery to the same pot. Fry gently until the onion is well coloured.

Braciole frying tritata

    1. Return the braciole to the pot and add a good slug of red wine. Cook until the wine has almost reduced to nothing

Braciole reducing wine

    1. Then add the tomatoes, cover and cook over a very low heat. Cooking time depends on the meat. It should be very tender, but not falling apart. Check every now and again with a sharp knife or a skewer to see when they’re done. Mine took about 3 hours.

Braciole cooking

  1. When they are done, remove the braciole from the sauce. Chuck in a bit of chopped basil. Toss the cooked pasta in a little of the sauce and divide between 4 plates. Remove the cocktail sticks and put 4 or 5 braciole on each plate. Top with more of the sauce, sprinkle on some parmesan and we’re away :-) Alternatively, serve the sauce with the pasta as the first course, followed by the braciole as the second course.

Braciole finished dish

I’ve just found out that Tony Soprano’s recipe for ‘Braciole’ (or Brazhool :-) )appears in The Soprano Family Cookbook They serve it with ziti though. Would they be the famous ‘Grandma’s ziti’ we were always hearing about :-)