Monday, 23 July 2012

Ragù di Maiale (Pork Ragù)


I have hundreds of recipes for "Spag Bol". (That's what we Aussies tend to call Spaghetti Bolognese - it's practically our national dish.) I have recipes which require eight hours of simmering, whole bottles of your best Chianti, six different cuts of meat, fresh tomatoes straight from your own organic vegetable garden and crushed by the feet of virgins (that last bit about the tomatoes is a slight exaggeration). But Spag Bol can get pretty labour intensive and time consuming depending on who you take your instructions from. I turned to the wonderful Giorgio Locatelli and he lead me down the path to simple, delicious, uncompicated pasta sauce heaven. Strictly speaking, this isn't spaghetti Bolognese because I used farfalle. But my kids like the "bow-tie" shape and I was not about to complicate matters after making the perfect simple sauce.

Ragù di Maiale (Pork Ragù)
from Giorgio Locatelli's Made in Italy

500g pork neck, cut into a fine dice
1 tablespoon oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
Sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf tied together to create a bouquet garni
1 garlic cloves
400ml of white wine
1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste
600ml tomato passata
125ml milk
salt and pepper

Make sure the pork is bought to room temperature, so it sears rather than stews when it goes into the pan.

Put the vegetables into a food processor and whiz until they are finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a wide bottomed pan, add the vegetables, herbs and sweat over high heat for 5-8 minutes without allowing it to colour (You need to keep stirring)

Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the pan of vegetables making sure that the meat covers the base of the pan. Leave for about 5-6 minutes, so that the meat seals underneath and heats through completely, before you start stirring (otherwise it will ooze protein and liquid and boil rather than sear). Take care that the vegetables don’t burn – add a little oil and adjust the heat if necessary.

Stir the meat and vegetables every few minutes for about 10-12 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the pan. At this point, the meat is ready to take the wine.

Add the wine and let it reduce right down to virtually nothing, then add the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.

Add the passata with about a cup of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add the milk (the milk is an Italian Nonnas trick to give the Ragù a good colour and creaminess and draws out a little of the acidity of the tomato paste). Cook for about 1 1/2 hours adding a little more water if necessary, until you have a thick sauce.

When you’re ready to serve, prepared 500g of your favourite pasta according to the packet instructions. Add the pasta to the ragù, and toss well, adding some of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


  1. This looks delicious!
    I nominated you on my blog for the Versatile Blogger award :) You can read about it on my blog if you so choose.