Saturday, May 30, 2009

Italiano dinner with Andrea

A couple of weeks ago at a BMW Oracle event, I met one of Matt's co-workers: Andrea, an Italian from Roma. Of course, we made short work of getting to the topic of food and I was thrilled to discover that his family carries many of the same food traditions as mine (for an odd example, drying handmade pasta over clean sheets on the bed).

I asked him if he knew a good traditional ragu recipe (what we think of as spaghetti sauce, but more meat and less saucy), and not only did he have one, but it comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, where my family is from. So we agreed to have dinner at our place soon--we'd make the pasta and he'd make the ragu.

Matt also chose that weekend to try out the baguette recipe and techniques we learned back in March with Breadfarm guru Scott Mangold. I'd done my own batch back in late March, but Matt wasn't around, so he did this one all on his own... Turned out gorgeous.

Matt's homemade baguettes (pretty good for a first timer!)

At Andrea's suggestion, we made semolina pasta for the first time (we usually use all-purpose flour). He thought the courser durum flour would allow it to be more textured for the ragu to stick to. 400 grams of semolina, 4 eggs, a whiz together in the food processor, a few minutes kneading, then rolled through the pasta roller and cut. Usually, we cook our pasta right away, but Andrea suggested we let it dry for a few hours. I felt like we were making real Italian pasta for the first time.

Hand-made semolina pasta, drying

Ricotta caprese

When Andrea came over, he made the ragu, but showed me the steps along the way. I think I can recreate it--the recipe's easy. But I kid you not, it tasted like Italy. I'm pretty excited to make this recipe for my dad to see if it's anything close to what he remembers his Nonna and Nonno making when he was kid.

Andrea looking hot in my apron


And here's Andrea's ragu recipe:

100 grams (1/4 pound) high quality ground beef, preferably with rib meat
(you may add more ground beef, according to your preference)
2 oz. pancetta (bacon is an acceptable substitute)
1 large or 2 small sausages
1 large white onion
1 large carrot
1 or 2 large celery sticks
1 glass red wine
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 box of Pomi (Italian brand) or 15 oz can of diced/ crushed tomatoes
Homemade veal and chicken stock or a box of beef stock

1. Finely chop the veggies and pancetta, using a food processor, if desired.
2. Add to a large stock pot over high heat with olive oil until onions appear golden
3. Add beef and sausage and mix well
4. Add glass of wine and cook on high until liquid evaporates
5. Turn down heat and add 3-4 spoonfuls of paste and tomatoes.
6. Put stock into a small saucepan and heat on a separate burner on low.
7. Simmer for 1-2 hours, partially covered, adding ladles of stock as it becomes more dry.
8. Season with salt and pepper and serve over pasta with freshly grated cheese.


1 comment:

Alyson Ross Markley said...

Joey! As always, your RoddyLife blog entries are a pleasure for me to read! The photographs are waaaay cool... artful... you have an eye for beauty in the simplest things, which I love, also your use of space and texture is top notch! The recipes and restaurant adventures are a blast. Keep it coming!