Sugo al ragu is one of these Italian dishes/sauces I need to have once a month, in fact it might even be my favourite sauce. The Italians have many different versions and I like them all but the base is allmost every time the same: a good sofrito...a mixture of chopped carrots and celery fried in olive oil, meat, tomatoes (not too much normally, usually more meat than tomatoes).
My version is with minced meat.
- +/- 800gr. of minced, seasoned meat. Half pork/half veal. This is quite a lot but I like my sauce meaty
- 750ml of good passata
- one onion, 2 garlic cloves, one red chillie. All chopped finely
- Some finely chopped carrots and celery. About 2 carrots for 1 celery. This is the sofrito
- a glass of red wine. Don't use that Chateau Petrus from your wine cellar but don't pour in vinegar neither! A good cheap wine will do
- Some chopped smoked bacon +/- 50gr.
- 2 bayleaves, about 4 leaves of sage, couple sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Chop up the sage and rosemary
- a tbsp.of tomato paste
- 1 tbsp of dried oregano
- 4-5 drops of worcestershire sauce
- some chicken stock
Heat up a drop of olive oil in a large pan and brown the bacon. Don't use too much oil cause the bacon will release some fat also. Let it fry until it starts to get brown and crispy and then add the sofrito -carrots and celery -. Add a drop of EEVO if too dry and let this fry for about 10mins but don't let it burn. Throw in the sage, rosemary and thyme and let it release it's aroma's. Your kitchen will be smelling heavenly by now.
Pour in a couple of drops of red wine; just enough to deglace the pan and cook out the wine.
Throw in the onions, chillie and garlic and fruit these for a minute.
Now add the minced meat, turn up the fire and use a fork to squash the meat. Avoid any big lumps of meat.
When all the meat is browned you can add the passata, worcestershire sauce and 2 bay leaves. Mix well and pour in the rest of the red wine.
Put on a low fire, the lowest you got and let this simmer for a bout 1½-2 hours. Stir regulary and add some chicken stock if it gets too dry. After an hour or 2 you'll get a nice dry but still moist sauce. You can let this rest over night, it will only get better!
Serve with the pasta of your choice and enjoy!