LILIANA’S “RAGÙ” (THE SAUCE OF MY MOTHER–IN–LAW)
“Ragù, ragù, se non ci fossi tu!” (Ragù, ragù, if you were not there…) well, we should invent you!
Ragù is the most typical, renowned, popular Italian meat sauce. It’s made everywhere, from the North to the South, but each region, each town and village (and each person!!) has its own version. In Tuscany it is used many ways: served on a small bread slice (like a crostino) to start the meal, or stirred into penne pasta with a dusting of parmesan cheese, or layered with béchamel sauce and pasta (lasagne) for a hearty lunch.
Here you get the wonderful, unique (and, to me, the best!) recipe from my mother–in–law, Liliana, a superb, traditional, Tuscan home cook!
INGREDIENTS (FOR 4 PEOPLE)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
300 g (10 oz) ground beef
300 g (10 oz) ground pork
1 fresh pork sausage, skinned (if available)
1 can (14-15 oz) Italian plum tomatoes
1 glass (8 oz) of red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop the carrot, onion, and celery and place in a pot and sautè at medium flame in abundant extra virgin olive oil until it starts to almost caramelize. It sweetens the carrots and onions and gives the sauce a really special flavour!
Then, add the fresh sausage (removing the skin) breaking it up in the cooked vegetables and brown thoroughly. Add the ground beef and pork, raise the heat, and stir until browned.
Splash with wine and let the wine evaporate. Add the tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to the minimum and let cook covered for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta very well, and then put it back in the pan. Add the pasta sauce and stir to let the sauce flavor the pasta. Serve freshly grated parmesan on the side!
The real secret of a good ragù is the extremely slow, low heat cooking, for at least 4 hours, but 5-6 hours will be even better! And your home will just smell fragrant and delicious for the whole time!
You can also add porcini mushrooms or some thinly sliced prosciutto crudo (raw ham) to give a richer taste.
Ragù freezes very well, so make a large quantity!