Ragù. History and different ways to make it.

The meat sauce is definitely one of the most famous Italian dishes both in Italy and in the world. This condiment has ancient origins, it is thought that maybe was born at the end of 18th Century.

The ragù (whose name comes from the French word "ragoutier," that means "awake your appetite") originated as a simply meat sauce that was served as accompaniment to pasta dishes, but they used to left meat aside, and had just the broth only. Later, Alvisi Aberto Cardinal of Imola's chef at the end of 1700, cooked the first real ragù sauce, served with a plate of macaroni. At the beginning of 1800, the ragù made its appearance in some cookbooks from Emilia Romagna, and it was a dish that most of the time was served on feast days.

But....how many types of ragù recipes exsists out there?
You can't count the versions that were made for this famous sauce. Certain chefs are still preparing it with one type of meat, certain puts garlic, others rosemary, and certain people use venison, wild boar or lamb meat to make it.
Personally I know of 3 types of ragù and they are all from Italy: Neapolitan ragù, bolognese ragù, and ragù from Bari.

The first is a meat sauce made not with minced meat, but with whole chunks of meat cuts  taken from different animals: beef, veal and pork. And then, they usually cook it for several hours, until the meat become soft and tasty.

Ragù “alla barese” is made with sliced pork pins, breast, lamb and beef. Even these meats are cooked for a long time to get a delicious sauce that is served to dress in a really rich way pasta, homemade or not.

The last one, the most famous in the world, is the “ragù alla bolognese”. The recipe that I generally use is the original one that the October 17, 1982 the delegation of Bologna of the Italian Academy of Cuisine deposited in the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna. I just make every time a small variation, because I always add a little bit og ground nutmeg that I like a lot!

300 g of minced beef,  150 g of minced pork Bacon, 50 g diced carrots, 50 g diced celery, 50 g diced onions, 300 g of tomato sauce, 1 glass of dry white or red wine, 1 glass of whole warm milk, salt, pepper, grated nutmeg to taste, 5 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil.

Stir fry in a quite large pan the oil with celery, carros and onions and cook until they're soft, on a medium heat. Possibly use a terracotta pan, which distributes heat better.
Add now the minced pancetta and let it brown together with other ingredients. It's better if you continue to mincing it while is cooking, to obtain very small pieces. You can use a wooden spoon to make this.

Cook for at least 5 minutes on a medium heat and add the minced beef, trying to keep minceing it as much as you can. Put now some salt and pepper and keep steering until all the meat gets slightly brown. After this, you can now add the wine you choosed and let the alcool evaporate. It will take at least 15 minutes. When the wine will be completely evaporated, add the tomato sauce to the meat and stir well. Now on lower heat let it cook slowly and when you see that the meat is drying too much, add a little of warm milk. After a couple of hours, turn off the heat and add the butter and stir very well. This is to make the sauce become even more delicious and creamy.

Which recipe do you usually use to prepare your meat sauce? Look forward for your feedback in the comments below.

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