Perfect Pasta – Quick and Delectable Ragu

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (July 2020) and taken from Pasta Perfect by Laura Santini.

Loaded with umami flavours, the seared meat, concentrated tomato puree, wine and garlic in this dish combine to create a ragu like no other.  Be careful not to eat it all while tasting for seasoning!

RaguServes : 4

Ingredients :
5 tblsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled, squashed and halved lengthways
1 onion, sliced into 8 wedges
500g minced beef
1 large bay leaf
3 tblsp tomato puree
125ml red or white wine
600g boodles (butternut squash noodles; spiralised at home or shop-brought), or 600g dried pasta or 320-480g fresh pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings, to serve

Method :

Bullet logo Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.  Add the garlic and onion wedges.  When these are sizzling, add the meat and seal it over a moderate to high heat, until well browned all over.

Bullet logo Season with salt and black pepper and add the bay leaf and tomato puree.  Cook on a low heat, stirring regularly to prevent the bottom burning, until the oil begins to separate from the sauce.

Bullet logo Add the wine to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the wine has been absorbed.

Bullet logo Towards the end of the cooking time, cook the boodles or the pasta, according to the packet instructions.

Bullet logo Serve the quick ragu with the cooked, drained pasta or boodles and top with parmesan shavings, plus plenty of extra black pepper.

Tasty transformation : For a juicy bolognese, add two 400g cans of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of dried oregano.  Or, better still, add enough ‘Classic red sauce’ (see separate recipe) to give the consistency required.  A quality tomato pasta sauce from a jar could also be added with excellent results.

Pasta Perfecto – Classic Red Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (July 2020) and taken from Pasta Perfect by Laura Santini.

Make your own sauce with fresh ingredients, bursting with goodness. It’s a classic for a reason, so do it well!

Serves : 4-6

Ingredients :
2 tblsp olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tblsp tomato puree
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, or whole San Marzano tomatoes
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bullet logo Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and saute until the onions are glassy and softened. Add the puree and canned tomatoes. If you’re using whole tomatoes, squash them as they go in to break them up.

Bullet logo Add the torn basil leaves and sugar. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Bullet logo Cook over a very low heat, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, for 40-60 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the sauce is rich, tangy and tasty, and the oil has separated on the surface.

Bullet logo You can leave it chunky or pass it through a fine sieve to remove any chunks and seeds.