Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sicilian Ragù: the classic seasoning for pasta and rotisserie

Do you know what "Ragù alla Siciliana" is? The term ragù comes originally from the French ragout and is basically a sauce with meat that is slow-cooked for few hours. The most famous ragù in the world is the Bolognese one (from the city of Bologna), but here in Sicily we also have our Sicilian version, made with minced meat, the soffritto, tomato sauce and peas.

This sauce is usually prepared for a festivity or a Sunday lunch. It is the typical seasoning for our lovely baked anelletti and for some of our traditional pieces of rotisserie as well. But now let's have a look at all the ingredients that we need for our ragù.

Ingredients & Preparation for 8 people:
250 gr beed minced meat
250 gr pork minced meat
1 lt tomato passata
half teaspoon of sugar
1 tbs tomato purè
150 gr fresh small peas
half glass of dry white wine
1 carrot
1 celery
half onion
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil

1. Let's start with the preparation of the traditional soffritto: onion, carrot and celery finely chopped.
On a medium heat pour a drizzle of e.v.o of olive (around 3-4 tablespoons) in a sauce pan and let the soffritto cook for 5 minutes on its own.
2. Add the minced meat using a fork or a wooden spatula and make sure you open it up, so that you don't have big chunks of meat left.
3. After 7-8 minutes pour the white wine and let it reduce completely.
4. Now it's time to add the tomato passata (which needs to be seasoned with half teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt and black pepper and nutmeg) plus the tomato purè and some water (a couple of full glasses).
5. Finally add the peas and stir everything for a couple of minutes, until you are sure that all the flavors are well mixed together.
6. Put a lid on the pan, lower the heat at the minimum and let is slow cook for at least one hour, stirring from time to time. If you think it's too watery leave it for another 30 minutes, on the other hand if it looks already too thick add a little more water, like another glass and let it cook until you have the right consistency and texture of the one in the picture here on the right.

NOTE - As the preparation requires few hours, one of the thing we usually do in our home is to cook it one day in advance, so saturday if you need it for sunday. This also helps to mix the flavors all together and have an extraordinary result. Some recipes just need to rest to taste better.

What we love about the ragù is the fact that is in someway always related to family, festivities, grandma's stories and get together of any kind. It is also an incredibly versatile dish, perfect with pasta, pies and even fried or baked rotisserie. Anyway you like it basically, ... and that is the reason why it is such a popular recipe!!!