ragù



so, what’s a ragù. the better question might be ‘what’s in a ragù’... any sort of meat, really, likely though beef, pork or chicken. the wilder stuff, like venison, bear or boar would make a ragù so much more tasty. i don’t know as yet any hunters up here and i haven’t heard from my friend adam in a long while. adam, the hunter (pronounced ‘hunnner’). yes, he and his father, who once took me on the hunt for their deer up in the hills past gillroy.
so, these days i make my ragù from a fifty-fifty of diced pork and minced beef. the pork on the fatty side. i start out with a mirepoix, that is onions, carrots and celery, a garlic clove or two, some twig of rosemary tied to a sprig of sage (for easy removal). this stuff should sweat for a little in olive oil. i brown the meats quickly in a separate pan over high heat without stirring much. once the meats begin to stick, i add the mirepoix, may be four or five anchovies (for salt) and little by little a half bottle of red wine. or more, always stirring until most all of the wine has reduced. the ragù is now ready for chopped tomatoes and quite a bit of paste, it should be saucy. i let it sit on very low heat for an hour or so. or less if i’m too hungry to wait.
some people like a ragù tossed with a fresh pasta, like a pappardelle. it is true that the sauce clings nicely to the starch of such freshly cut noodles. me, and after all the pasta research and eating, i’ll devour my ragù tonight over gnocchi. if i can wait that long.