In net contrast to everything stated yesterday about sauce and Italians eating light meals, today we polished up a whole pan of glorious cannelloni al ragù. It was not a holiday, but we innkeepers must work throughout most of the occasions when others celebrate holidays. As a consequence we have to nominate a grey, cold and boring winter day as “special”and cook something worth a Christmas party.
To prepare good lasagne, cannelloni or a heart lifting plate of tagliatelle, one needs a good ragù. NOT like that one in this picture please. More like in the picture below.
Then one needs time, good meat, good tomatoes, good EVO oil. I use finely minced pork neck, but beef or a mixture of meats is fine. My ragù is Southern in style so it has relatively more tomato than meat. I use little EVO oil for cooking but I drizzle a bit on the ready dish so the oil enhances the flavor of the sauce. I make a huge pot and freeze it in batches, it keeps perfectly.
- 2.1 kg bottled tomato puree equivalent to 5 14-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes roughly chopped
- 300 gr./ 10 ounces ground pork meat
- 1 large onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove
- 1/2 cup white wine
Soften the onion in 3 tablespoon olive oil over low heat. Use a covered, low, heavy bottom pan. When the onion is translucent but not caramelized, increase the heat and add the minced meat stirring quickly until light brown. Deglaze with the wine. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the bay leaf, the clove and cover again. Cook over the lowest possible heat for at least 1 and ½ hours, but up to three hours is desirable. Season with salt and black pepper.
Serve ragù with pasta or other starchy foods that have a rough surface, so the sauce does not slip away from it. Therefore, besides lasagne and cannelloni, use with ravioli, egg noodles of all sizes, gnocchi, polenta. Preferably do not use with spaghetti, penne and other smooth pasta.
Makes 2.5 liter (2.6 quart)