‘Ragu al Forno’

So many dishes come about through accident. Here’s one that recently happened in the No 19 kitchen.

I’ve written about Ragú and Sugo; I’ve been first in England to talk of the rich Tuccú alla Genovese. Next comes a Ragú al Forno – a classic meat sauce for the pasta, but this time slow cooked in the oven.

The recipe is well known – a 2/3 to 1/3 mix of lean beef (we find ground [minced] Angus rump at our butchers – worth the extra money) to minced pork. Minced veal is even better, but as good as unavailable in the UK, so pork is your best option to ‘soften’ the beef.

Look at ‘This Ragú’s No Burger’ and ‘Tuccu’s My New Ragú’ for full instruction.

IMG_2979 - Copy (225x300)We make Ragú once or twice each month – a tomato Sugo we make at least once, sometimes twice each week. They’re stalwart dishes at No 19. Recently we had an oven up to temperature for roasting chicken carcases for stock and a large pan of Ragú forked through and ready for its long slow cook. Ah-ha – the oven. So with the lid tightly secured with a greaseproof paper cartouche, in went the Ragú for 5 hours or so at 160°C. My goodness, what aroma and what a flavour.

This sauce was far rounder and deeper flavoured than when cooked on the top. An accidental discovery of a superior Ragú.

I urge you to try it.

IMG_3003 - Copy (225x300)Next comes another discovery – or better said, a double discovery. First was a new import house which specialises in foods and wines from Basilicata – the little known ‘toe’ of mainland Italy. Gallucci & Gilmour have something fresh and new to bring to England. They found me through www.garethjonesfood.com and told me their story. 

This has me sharing the delight of CruschiPeperoni ‘Cruschi’ di Senise.

IMG_3012 - Copy (300x253)An informal tasting in a Soho sherry house with a fellow Blue Collar Gastronaut (actually my editor-in-chief at ‘In Search of TASTE’), followed by a more structured preparation in the No 19 kitchen, has me raving about Cruschi. For the moment they are best available by mail order from www.gallucciandgilmour.com

What delighted me was this artisan dried pepper’s affinity to the Spanish Nora or the French Espelette. What a culinary debt we must continue to pay to The Moors. And more comes to follow.



This entry was posted in Beef, Blue Collar Gastronomy, Food of the Ancients, Food travel, IGP, Nonna's Cooking, Origins of our food, Real Italy, Simple Food, Southern Italy, Terroir, The Moors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ‘Ragu al Forno’

  1. AdriBarr says:

    Oh, indeed the happy kitchen accidents. From France’s puff pastry to Italy’s Screpelle ‘mbusse and Negroni, Providence smiles on cooks. Though none of my happy accidents will make history, they do nonetheless inform my cooking.

    Your Ragu method is indeed wonderful, and most certainly does produce a softer, rounder ragu with a great depth of flavor. My grandmother employed this technique. I’m not sure why she began to use it. For all I know it was because the oven had already been lit, and being a thrifty sort, thought it prudent to slide the big pot inside. Again, one of those questions I regret not having asked her.

    How fortunate you are to have a store specializing in items from Basilicata. Those peppers from Potenza & Matera are really wonderful. As they hang in ristras, they dry and come into their own glory. I can’t wait to read about the products you purchase from your new purveyor and see what you make with them.

  2. Yes but what happened to the touch of chicken liver being so essential for the Ragu?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>