Slow Cooked Meat Ragù
Slow Cooked Meat Ragù
You might be tempted to say this is just spag-bol but you’d be facing the wrath of every Italian grandmother ever born. Proper ragu truly is a spiritual experience. The long simmering and combination of meats and fats produces a sauce that can only be described as meat butter for pasta.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 4 hours
a splash of oil for frying
500 g good quality beef mince (chuck steak, ask your butcher to grind it)
500 g good quality lamb mince
6 pork sausages, meat removed from casing and chopped
3 beef bone marrows
250 g streaky bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, grated
4 celery sticks, finely diced
2 C (500 ml) red wine
small handful of chopped sage
small handful of chopped rosemary
small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
8 anchovies, chopped
2 x 410 g tins whole peeled tomato, crushed
1 C (250 ml) milk
2 C (500 ml) good quality beef stock
1 C (250 ml) cream
60 g grated hard cheese or parmesan
small handful of chopped parsley
fresh tagliatelle pasta (make your own here, cut between 8-10 cm width)
grated Parmesan Cheese
Set the oven to 230 ºC.
In a large dutch oven, over a medium high heat, fry the onions until they just start to colour. Add the diced bacon and fry until cooked, then add the garlic and fry until aromatic. Add the carrots and celery and fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables begins to soften. Cook out any liquid that is released.
Line a roasting tray with tin foil then place your marrow bones on the tray standing up. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the marrow is soft and loose in the bones. Let the bones cool slightly then use a knife to scrape the marrow out of the bones. Set it aside for use later. Turn the oven down to 150 ºC.
In a large frying pan heat a splash of extra virgin olive oil and brown the meat. It’s best to do this in batches at so that you don’t crowd the pan, otherwise the meat ends up stewing instead of frying. Cook off all the water that releases from the meat and continue to brown. Repeat until the beef, lamb and pork are all done. Add all of the meat and the marrow from the bones into the pot of vegetables. Add the wine and cook over high heat until it’s mostly evaporated.
Add the sage, rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, anchovies, tomatoes, milk and stock then stir well to combine. Pop the pot into the oven with the lid off. The ragù should simmer gently in the oven for four hours. Give it a stir occasionally during the cooking process.
Remove the ragù at the four hour mark. You’ll notice all the oil has separated and is sitting in a layer above the meat. There should be a good layer of it. If there is too much you can skim a little off but be sure to leave some. The cream will emulsify with the oil to create a rich sauce.
Place the pot back over medium high heat then stir in the Parmesan, parsley, cream and mix well to emulsify. Once the ragù is thick and glossy you can turn off the heat and prep the pasta.
Cook your pasta to al dente and just before you drain it, scoop a cup of pasta water out with a cup measure and set aside. Drain the pasta and toss in a little olive oil.
To serve, dish a portion of ragu into a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a portion of pasta then a splash of the pasta water and stir to combine. The pasta water will loosen the sauce and coat the pasta in the meaty sauce. Serve immediately with plenty of grated Parmesan.