Real, slow cooked Ragu and fresh pasta!

That’s right – the Boy got me a pasta machine! AND cooked all day yesterday for my late birthday dinner with some friends making the most delicious ragu I’ve ever tasted. Ever. (AND got me a culinary torch with a butane refill). Is he the best or what?!

Read on for this ultimate ragu’s recipe and photos of pasta making with my newest kitch gadget…

The Ragu

From How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman – makes over 2 quart (it’s a lot! – this is a double recipe)


4 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, minced
2 carrots, peeled and minced
2 celery stalks, minced (remember, this is your soffrito)
1/2 cup minced bacon or pancetta
1 lb lean ground pork (or use all beef)
1 lb lean ground beef
1lb veal
3/8 cup red wine
2 (28- or 35-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes, drained (reserve juice)
Juice from tomato cans
2 cup beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade (he even made homemade! check the recipe below*)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk (we used 2%)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional) (we used ours from Roma!)


  • Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-low and, a minute later, add the onion, carrot, celery, and bacon or pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat a bit, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add tomato juice and repeat evaporation process.
  • Crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands and add them to the pot; stir, then add the stock. Turn the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes and any clumps of meat that remain.
  • After an hour or so, add salt and pepper. Cook for at least another hour, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is very thick. (This sauce may be covered and refrigerated for a day or two, or put in a closed container and frozen for several weeks. Reheat before completing.)
  • Add the cream, half-and-half, or milk and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; taste and add more salt and/or pepper as needed. Serve immediately with any dried or fresh pasta, passing grated Parmesan, if you like, at the table.

*Chicken Stock

1 whole chicken, giblets removed

2 stalks celery, 1 large white onion, 2 carrots all chopped

  • Put all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  • Add enough water to cover all ingredients.
  • Season. Bring water to a boil, then lower heat to allow to simmer.
  • Simmer for about 6 hours.
  • Season again after a few hours.
  • This makes a LOT of stock. You can freeze it – but we suggest freezing it in ice cube trays. This way, whenever you need stock, you can just drop in an ice cube of stock without having to unfreeze the whole batch and refreeze it, which reduces its quality tremendously.

The Pasta

(for about 12 – 14 people)

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

4 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat flour

9 eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

Semolina flour to sprinkle over formed pasta to keep it from clumping

Remember to whisk the eggs to the point of frothing so that you get beautiful bubbles in your dough to make it light.

A quick glimpse at our pasta making adventure:

Look at my shiny new toy!!

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