Sausage and fennel ragu with homemade pasta
For the ragu
- 1 large onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried fennel
- 300g good-quality sausage meat
- 100g good-quality beef mince
- 400ml red wine
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the pasta
- 200g '00' fine Italian flour
- 2 eggs
- Fresh basil leaves
An Italian family favourite, ragu is a slow-cooked meat sauce often served with pasta. This take on a Tuscan classic, using a traditional mix of pork and beef, was devised by food editor Emma Winterschladen. Once you’ve mastered how to make pasta at home, you’ll never look back. This is a comforting, flavoursome dish to enjoy with good company and a glass of red.
- For the ragu, finely dice the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Add into a deep-set pan with the olive oil. Slowly sauté the vegetables uncovered for 20 minutes on a low heat, adding in the fennel seeds for the final few minutes so they don’t burn.
- Add the meat, breaking it up with your hands as it goes in, and let it brown for a few minutes. Pour in the red wine so it covers the mixture, turn up the heat and let it cook off for five minutes.
- Add in the cherry tomatoes and season. Turn down the heat and cover with a lid for 40 minutes. Add the rosemary leaves (finely chopped) and the tinned tomatoes, then cook for a further 20 minutes. Finish off by turning the heat up to medium-high and allowing the sauce to cook down for the final ten minutes.
- As the ragu is cooking, make the pasta. Make a pile of flour on your work surface or in a bowl and create a well in the centre. Add the eggs into the middle. Mix together gently with a fork, gradually bringing more flour into the centre as you go. Once it’s mixed, work it with your hands on a lightly floured surface until you have a smooth dough. This will take a good five minutes. Roll the dough thinly with a rolling pin (approx 2-3mm), then cut it lengthways with a knife into 2-3cm ribbons. You can also use a pasta machine if you have one. Set to one side.
- When the ragu is almost ready, add the pappardelle into a pan of salted boiling water for 7-10 minutes until the pasta is soft. Drain and serve with the ragu on top, a sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan and a scattering of basil leaves.
The method of sautéing onion, carrot, celery and garlic in olive oil is called soffritto which literally means to ‘lightly fry’.