There are certain cuisines that seem to be able to effortlessly move from country to country. Italian cuisine is one of those. There is something about the Italian aromas and flavours that seem to work anywhere you go. I think it’s the tomatoes and love of garlic that makes their food work so well. Ironically many of the ingredients linked to Italian cuisine are borrowed from all over the world. Tomatoes are originally from America for example.
A few days ago I posted an entry explaining how one goes about making their own home made pasta. Well, what’s a pasta without a good well made sauce? This recipe is from Bologna, a region in Italy. It’s called not quite a sauce in the sense of a liquid consistancy but more of a ragu (a meat based sauce). It does take a bit of time to cook as it has to reduce and simmer for a few hours but it will be worth it all in the end. Try use Italian pancetta and not bacon but if you don’t have any then bacon will do.
- Pancetta – 120g
- Olive oil – 30ml
- Butter – 30g
- Onion, chopped – 300g
- Carrot, chopped – 120g
- Celery, chopped – 100g
- Beef mince – 900g
- White wine – 500ml
- Tomato paste – 90g
- Beef stock – 1litre
- Garlic – 20g
- Paprika – 10g
- Salt, pepper & nutmeg – to taste
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped – handful
- Fry the pancetta (or bacon) in the butter and oil over a low heat until crispy
- Increase the heat and add the vegetables and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft
- Add the mince meat and cook until the meat is browned. Drain the fat from the pot
- Add the white wine and allow it to reduce and then stir in the tomato paste. Cook until the mixture starts turning brown again and less red (this process is called caramelization.)
- Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and add more until you’re happy with the balance of flavours
- Add the stock and bring the pot to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 2 hours uncovered for 2 hours.
- Add the chopped basil leaves just before serving