In September we’ll be kicking off our Summer cooking class series with food that synonymous with simplicity, passion, and conviviality – Italiano! I’m taking inspiration from my recent visit to Italy. In preparation for the classes, there’s a fair amount of recipe testing, (and eating) involved. Only the best recipes make it onto the menu. So far, we’ve had Khuluha tiramisu for breakfast, gin and strawberry gelato for lunch and this red wine ragu with rigatoni pasta for Sunday dinner. With our recent spate of grim weather, we headed indoors on the weekend, lit the fire and poured glasses of red wine. We ate bowlfuls of pasta and went back for seconds. It’s too good not to share, so here’s the recipe for my red wine ragu with rigatoni.
The success of a good pasta hinges on the sauce. This meaty sauce is my take on the classic Bolognese. I’ve based it on the countless versions we ate in Bologna. As with most successful Italian dishes, it’s made with simple ingredients and lots of love. As to the definitive recipe, each family has their own personal favourite. I think this might be ours. It’s the kind of recipe that you can put in your back pocket. Let’s call it ‘faithful’ for the want of a better word. It shows up and delivers, every time.
This sauce is a mainstay in any cooks kitchen. I usually make double, use one batch and freeze the remaining sauce for a handy stand-by. It’s super versatile too. Use for lasagna, spaghetti bolognese or Friday night toasties.
Red wine Ragu with rigatoni
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 500g lean, free-range beef mince
- 1 stem fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup red wine (I used a good Merlot)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 800g tinned tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 400g rigatoni pasta
- freshly grated parmesan, to serve
- fresh basil, to finish
- Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté the onion and carrots until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Now add the mince cook on a high heat until well browned. Add all the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half.
- Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, sugar, stock and bay leaves.
- Simmer for 1 hour until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened.
- In the meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of well-salted, boiling water.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
- Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss to coat.
- Finish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
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