At Kitchen Provisions we try to be good economical housewives. So, as well as throwing all the weekly food budget at one glorious piece of picanha steak, we also try and eke out a few quality bits of meat throughout the week following the old meal plans of a joint on Sunday and a week of reinvented leftovers. That said, we aren't always in the mood for a slab of pork or beef and sometimes roast chicken doesn't cut it. This is where ragu comes in.
The recipe we go to for ragu contains more types of meat than even the most generous of mixed grills and, just like roast beef, can be endlessly reinvented throughout the week. We went for a recipe from "Sharing Puglia", Mama Angela's ragu to be precise. This calls for pork or veal sausages, pork shoulder, pork ribs, lamb shoulder, and beef silverside. Roughly 200 grams of each. See that mirepoix or, as we are being Italian, soffritto pictured above? Bar tomatoes, this is pretty much the only non-meat ingredient in the whole thing.
The standout addition to the ragu were braciole, pork or veal fillets bashed out really thin schnitzel-style. These are wrapped around pancetta, garlic, parsley and pecorino, tied up and then browned and added to the ragu for the last thirty minutes. Basically an extra meat bouquet garni. Delicious, well worth the extra effort and something we would make again as a stand alone dish.
Three hour's cooking time later, we were left with a rich, meaty sauce like no other. The shed loads of meat had started to break down but large chunks still remained. It had a lip-smacking quality and even the sauce alone was ridiculously rich.
The first incarnation of the ragu involved scooping off the sauce, without any meat, and mixing it with some rigatone pasta. While there were no chunks of meat in there, having been cooked down for three or four hours, the sauce was ridiculously rich. The next serving involved picking out the larger chunks of meat and eating it with roast potatoes - polenta would work equally well here. The third meal was another serving of pasta, this time with the meat forked into smaller pieces. Finally, we froze another huge batch to be used in the lasagne to beat all other lasagnes.