Melissa Collison


italian interlude with veal + pork ragu

Since we are having an Italian interlude, I thought I would add a very simple ragu with pappardelle and shavings of grana parmigiano.

My experience with northern Italians has shown me that they have less tomato in their sugo.  The meat is minced, the sugo is generally finer, and the taste lighter.  

In my last post I recounted some of my experiences in Italy, specifically Venezia.  During one of those visits I was invited for dinner at the home of the local librarian/bookseller.  Their bookshop in Venice has been run by his family for a couple of centuries... imagine!

We were served a fabulous rabbit ragu and our host was a skilled raconteur.  He spoke of Venezia and how beautiful and romantic 'she' is.  I was completely captivated.  That night was one of my most magical travel experiences.

In memory of that evening, I've put together a veal + pork ragu, and will share a couple of things I was taught when making the sauce...

Finely chop celery, carrots and onions, blanch in oil, and add garlic.  Put in the meat and lightly brown.  Add salt and stock (I use fresh chicken stock).  In the one shown above, I threw in some fresh oregano.  Add fresh tomatoes, finely chopped.  My biggest secret for a fine and light sugo is to let it cook slowly and take its time.  The one pictured here was on the stove for two-and-a-half hours.  Finally, always try to cook the sauce the day before.  Then the flavours will shine.