Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Home-Made Pasta with Franco’s Tuscan Ragout (Bolognese)

A new Christmas tradition! If you can’t be in Italy, you can cook like you’re in Italy. This year Jake and I went back to Tuscookany and spent a wonderful week with Franco and Paola cooking all of my favorite Italian dishes. 

This Tuscan Ragout is so easy to make…and tastes so much better with home-made pasta. Making fresh pasta is a bit time consuming but after one bite, you’ll never want store-bought again.
  • 400 g / 14 oz flour (extra rough flour or plain flour (Type 00)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
It’s very important to measure carefully. If you’ve ever thought about buying a kitchen scale, now is the time. I don’t know what I would do without mine. 

We actually made 2 batches this time.

Put the flour on a working surface and heap it like a volcano. Place the eggs in the center with the olive oil and salt.

Beat the eggs with a fork, slowly incorporating the flour.
When all the flour is incorporated, knead the dough. This is a process!!! it will take about 20 minutes to get it into dough…and all the while you’ll think you need to add more oil or water! DON’T DO IT! As Jake finally agreed…it will take a long, long time. He kept insisting it didn’t take so long in Italy…he may be right.

When it’s finally a soft dough, wrap in Saran wrap and let it stand for one hour.

 I used my pasta attachment to roll it out.

Then we hand-cut the noodles.

And hung them to dry.

The pasta is so fresh it only takes 2-3 minutes to cook. Don’t overcook! You want it al dente.

  • 100 g / 3 1/2 oz Italian sausage
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 300 g / 11 oz (each) celery, onion and carrots, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 400 g / 14 oz ground beef
  • 300 g / 11 oz ground pork
  • 800 g / 28 oz canned whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 liter / 1 pint beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 liter / 1/2 pint red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you’ll need to make the sauce. 

Santa brought me the Kitchen Aid grinder attachment. I’ll never buy the weird ground meat at the market again. For the sauce I used a New York steak and pork chops. I left a little of the fat on so it would be juicy.

Heat a large pot and add the oil. Stir in the celery, onion, carrots and garlic and cook on medium heat until blond–about 10 minutes.

Add the ground meat and sausage and continue to stir while it cooks.

Add the red wine and let it reduce.

Add the tomatoes, broth, nutmeg and bay leaf. As you see, I just squish the tomatoes as I remove them from the can….actually, Jake did that.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 2 hours. Season to taste.

Add a little freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy a great meal.

Categories: Beef, Everything Italian, Main Dishes

Tags: , , ,

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