Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ragu with Rotini

I like working with new sauces. While thinking about what to feed my friends on Nerd Sunday, I thought about pasta with a Ragu. I found a recipe in a food mag, tweaked it slightly and served it up. The dish was well-received, but I'm not sure if a Ragu is my thing. I figure that I'm more of a Bolognese guy. Nevertheless, this dish is a keeper and I plan to keep tweaking the sauce until I get it just right.

     This dish served four to five and takes about two hours to prepare, though very little of that is active.

Ragu with Rotini

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (see notes)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 pound thickly sliced baked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rotini or fusilli
Finely chopped parsley, for serving
Freshly grated pecorino romano, for serving

1) In a Le Creuset, heat the olive oil.

2) Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

3) Add the pancetta and ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

4) Add the tomato paste and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until shiny and rust-colored, about 10 minutes.

5) Add the diced ham, milk, white wine and water to the casserole and simmer the sauce over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and saucy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

6) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fusilli, stirring often, until al dente. Drain the fusilli and add it to the sauce. Stir well to coat the pasta.

7) Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls and sprinkle with pecorino and parsley.

I could only find thinly sliced pancetta in the deli section. The next time I give this recipe a shot, I'm going to go with thickly cut.

Wasting monsters all afternoon makes the gamers hungry.


  1. Hi Again. Nice to see what you made. Always yummy. Looks great.

    I just made a red sauce this past week but haven't posted yet about it. Love making sauce. Makes the whole house smell good.

    Catch you next time. Happy Eating & Cooking.

  2. I love you stay-cation with lots of culinary goodness! Cook on!

  3. Thanks,

    It's nice to be home and just stop running on the wheel for a bit.

    Went shopping yesterday and got tons of fun ingredients to play with. Oh, and I got beautiful organic spinach for a great deal. Along with organic lentils. I'll spinach lentil soup before the stay-cation ends.

    Num num num.