In celebration of the 2795th day of January and the miserable weather in London, I made one of my favourite meals for this time of year – however I am completely in support of eating it all year round, as I often do.
- 100g soffrito
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- 75g cubed pancetta
- 400g 10% fat beef
- 100ml whole milk
- 2 tins of peeled cherry tomatoes
- A splash of red wine
- 350g fresh pappardelle
- A bunch of fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated parmagiano reggiano
The base of this sauce is the most therapeutic part: soffrito. A traditional Italian base for sauces and soups, soffrito is made up of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery. Peel your vegetables and chop them into 1cm cubes, taking a little bit of extra time to make sure they are equal in size. You can freeze whatever you don’t use.
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium flame, and add the soffrito. You’ll know it’s started to cook when the colours change from bright to golden and the vegetables soften. This is when I add 3 minced garlic cloves, a little salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Once the garlic is mixed in and cooking with the soffrito, I add in the pancetta.
When the pancetta is fried, I add in the beef mince and break it up with the wooden spoon, and keep stirring until everything is mixed together.
Once the beef starts to brown, add in the milk and stir. When the liquid is golden and bubbling, add in the tomatoes one can at a time and mix in.
This is when I add a good glug of red wine, give it a good stir and turn the heat down. You can keep the pan on a low heat for a few hours if you stir every so often. If it starts to stick just add a little hot water or stock – or you can turn it off and heat it through when you’re ready to serve up.
Just as I’m boiling a pan of water for the pasta, I’ll turn the heat up slightly on the sauce and add a handful of chopped fresh basil. I think that’s a personal preference, but you can add it earlier or leave it out altogether if you’d rather.
The pasta couldn’t be more simple. A large saucepan filled with boiling water and half a handful of salt (slightly exaggerating but not much), add the pasta, and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain the pasta, add it to the saucepan with the Ragù and mix it all together with tongs. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan and a little extra basil. Buon appetito!