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Paccheri Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream

Paccheri Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream

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  • 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • 2 cups chopped white onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound paccheri (giant rigatoni) or regular rigatoni
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Recipe Preparation

  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add onions and garlic to drippings in skillet; sauté until onions are slightly softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add wine and saffron to skillet; bring to boil. Continue to boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by less than half, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth to skillet. Return chicken to skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer gently until chicken is very tender (adjust heat to prevent boiling and turn chicken over after 30 minutes), about 1 hour total. Transfer chicken to plate and cool.

  • Reserve skillet with juices. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Tear chicken meat into bite-size pieces; place in medium bowl and reserve.

  • Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to pot.

  • Meanwhile, spoon off fat from juices in skillet; discard fat. Add cream to juices in skillet and boil until sauce is reduced to 2 1/2 cups and is thick enough to coat spoon, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then chicken pieces. Stir over medium heat until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin sauce as needed and adding more lemon juice by teaspoonfuls, if desired, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken mixture to pasta in pot and toss to coat. Stir in basil. Transfer pasta to plates.

Recipe by Isaac Becker Bar La Grassa Minneapolis Minnesota,

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 686.1 %Calories from Fat 40.3 Fat (g) 30.7 Saturated Fat (g) 13.0 Cholesterol (mg) 137.3 Carbohydrates (g) 65.0 Dietary Fiber (g) 4.4 Total Sugars (g) 3.8 Net Carbs (g) 60.6 Protein (g) 35.9 Sodium (mg) 138.6Reviews SectionI made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was so damn good!! One pan dish (besides the pot to cook the pasta). Absolutely excellent and restaurant quality, had two people ask for the recipe- will be making again!AriannaTPhoenix, AZ12/25/19Fantastic! This is a very special recipe. The sauce is amazing.AnonymousSan Francisco01/08/18

“Hubcap” Pasta

Honestly, I don’t know.  I good friend of mine is the culprit behind this name.  You see, I was telling him about a recipe I found in Bon Appetit, and how, like an idiot, I began making it one evening without verifying that I had all the proper ingredients on hand. (Am I the only person who does this?)  So, what happened was – I ended up white trashing the recipe about 14 different ways.  I thought – okay, I’ll just call it White Trash Pasta, but the truth is – it’s pretty freaking good.  So, my friend dubbed it Hubcap Pasta, and I’ll just go with it.

The original recipe is from Bon Appetit’s September 2010 issue, and is found on page 92, or here on the Bon Appetit website.  The chefs at Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis were the creators of Paccheri Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream.  Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?  Yes, yes it does.  Which is precisely why I decided to make it.

Honestly, there really aren’t that many ingredients.  11, in fact.  Of which I didn’t have 4.  Yes, I know.  Let’s not go there.  So I don’t pay attention.  I did, at least, buy the chicken thighs it calls for, as I don’t typically buy dark meat for us.  So there.  I tried.

What 4 ingredients I didn’t have were replaced with Casa Whetzel substitutes.  For saffron threads, I used a touch of ginger.  They are vaguely similar.  For paccheri, I used regular rotini. For 6 garlic cloves, I used the jarred minced variety.  And the biggest substitute?  I used a beer instead of dry white wine.  Then I threw in some peas, because we need some vegetables with our starch around here. Perfect addition!

Believe it or not, this was a really, really good dish, and I will make it again, Same as I did last time.  Sometimes life is filled with happy accidents. 

Hubcap Pasta is one of them.

WELCOME TO CucinaByElena

Cucina means kitchen in Italian. In our home la cucina is the gathering place for creating delicious food, passing on traditions, and building new memories. From a young age my Italian family instilled in me that food is merely a vehicle to bring people together. Every ingredient, recipe, meal, and gathering is a story waiting to unfold. Cucina By Elena is a way for me to share stories, tradition, and achievable Italian inspired recipes for your table. I invite you to start cooking and baking in your cucina with me.

Every recipe is Made with Amore. From my Cucina to your Table&hellip

Ricotta Cavatelli in Mushroom Ragù

Ricotta Cavatelli in mushroom ragu.


Dried porcini mushrooms 2-3OZ

In the small mixing bowl add the dried porcini and enough hot water to cover - let soak for 30min.

In a mixing bowl, beat 1 egg, add the ricotta and mix. Add the flour and start to incorporated everything.

When you can turn it onto the counter, do so, adding more flour if necessary. Looking to develop a fair bit of gluten and make this on the tougher side. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge, 30 min.

Remove from fridge, pound the ball into a giant pancake 1/2” thick- cut strips and run those strips through the cavatelli cranker. - set the final shapes onto a lightly floured sheet tray, personally I like to the rest them in the freezer.

In the sauce pan add 2 tbsp butter the anchovy filet and the sliced garlic. Simmer over medium heat until the anchovy dissolves.

With a spider remove the rehydrated porcini from the water (save that water) and add them to the hot pan, sauce until fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and sage, saute until blistered, add the porcini water. Set heat to low.

In a pot of boiling salted water add the cavatelli and cook utill they float to the top, Spyder them out and add to the sauce. Stir and continue to simmer for another minute.

Serve with plenty of pecorino Romano.

Broccolini with garlic and vinegar (w the cavatelli)


Boiling water (will use the pasta one)

Peel the stems of any tough looking broccoli

Blanch for about 40 seconds and then shock in ice all the broccoli.

In the frying pan, sauce over medium heat the garlic slices with a dash of hot pepper flakes until highly fragrant but not brown. Pour all the oil and garlic into the mason jar, add the mustard, the vinegar and shake well.

In the hot, oil-less pan, over high heat, char the blanched broccoli. Then add them to the mixing bowl and toss with the dressing.

Taccozzette Con Stracotto (Pasta with Braised Pork Ragu)

At Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria in NYC, there is a dynamite pasta dish called Taccozzette con Stracotto. Featuring braised pork shoulder tossed in a tomato sauce with fresh basil and served among pasta that resembles a shrunk down version of lasagna noodles, it is hands down one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to attempt recreating a version of this mouthwatering pasta dish at home (imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, isn’t it?).

The other night Asheley and I invited another couple over for a little dinner get-together, and I felt it the perfect time to try my hand at recreating the Taccozzette con Stracotto! Lisa is an amazing cook in her own right (check out her super delicious Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Soup Recipe that she wrote up for Shared Appetite), and her husband Joe is a wine connoisseur. They know good food, so I had to bring my “A” game. I decided for an added challenge, I wasn’t just going to try to recreate Batali’s braised pork shoulder ragu, but I would also attempt to make homemade fresh pasta for the very first time. I know it was incredibly risky, but I was feeling “go big or go home”. To complete the meal, I made a delicious Winter Caprese Salad to start and finished with a super easy Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise (recipes coming soon).

This braised pork shoulder ragu recipe is a one-pot wonder. It is a warming, hearty dish that is perfect for a winter night dinner and makes entertaining super easy. All the prep work is done way ahead of time. When you are ready to eat, just boil up some pasta and serve! Feel free to make your pasta fresh like I did, but that is totally not necessary.

47 Essential Pasta Recipes for Olive-Oiled, Red-Sauced Happiness

Pasta—the most comforting carb with limitless varieties—is a staple the world over. A cousin of Asian noodles, pasta was brought to Italy where it became the starchy staple for a cuisine synonymous with simple, hearty, home cooking.

In most cases, pasta perfection is simple: boil your noodles to the firmness of your liking, add a lovely pasta sauce, add some toppings, and voila! You have yourself the ultimate meal. And as any Italian will tell you, labor-intensive homemade pasta is a nice touch, but though there’s no shame in using dried pasta. While some pastas, like lasagna, rank among our most time-consuming recipes, pasta at home can also be lightning quick when needed: easy, quick pasta recipes come together in less than 30 minutes. Pasta is so versatile, you can shape the dough in pretty much any shape you want, and the versatility of pasta makes it perfect for both winter and summer.

From fettuccine to tortellini, here are the 47 essential pasta recipes in our arsenal.

Seafood Pasta with Tomatoes, Chiles, and Mint

Cooling fresh mint tempers the heat of the spicy tomato sauce in this bountiful seafood pasta.Get the recipe for Seafood Pasta with Tomatoes, Chiles, and Mint »

Spaghetti with Shrimp Rundown Sauce

Shrimp pulls double duty here: the shells are used to make the flavorful rundown sauce, and the meat is marinated with citrus and lightly cooked with the pasta. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp Rundown Sauce »

Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragu

Pillowy gnocchi are gently tossed with a robust meat sauce and finished with Parmigiano-Reggiano and cracked black pepper. Get the recipe for Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragu »

Ravioli with Ricotta and Greens

These ravioli with greens from chef JoMarie Pitino are perfect for a holiday menu. Get the recipe for Ravioli with Ricotta and Greens »

Pasta with Mushroom Trifolata

Sometimes, olive oil is the only pasta sauce you need. For centuries, Mediterranean cooks have used olive oils to make vinaigrettes, baste and drizzle over roasts, and infuse with flavors to use as pasta sauces on their own. Mushroom trifolata—a sauce made by searing then gently confiting mushrooms in a bath of olive oil—is best when made using a robust extra virgin olive oil and a mix of wild mushrooms like oyster, crimini, and chanterelles. The mushrooms turn silky and tender while releasing their rich, umami flavor into the oily sauce. Get the recipe for Pasta with Mushroom Trifolata »

Baked Macaroni in Pastry (Timpana)

A blend of coriander, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves adds oomph to the meat sauce for this baked pasta in puff pastry. Get the recipe for Baked Macaroni in Pastry »

Pasta with Octopus Ragu and Stracciatella

Giorgia Goggi mixes this slow-cooked tomato sauce with octopus and saffron into paccheri pasta di Gragnano, a thick, air-dried Italian macaroni. But any robust pasta shape will do. Get the recipe for Pasta with Octopus Ragu and Stracciatella »

Lemon-Infused Spaghetti with Oil and Provolone

Cook your pasta in fragrant lemon water. Get the recipe for Lemon-Infused Spaghetti with Oil and Provolone » Classically Roman, this garlicky pasta dish—as interpreted by Nick Anderer of Maialino and Marta in New York City—is brightened with pepperoncino and a handful of vibrant parsley. It gets a hit of salt from grated Grana Padano and roundness from extra-virgin olive oil. Get the recipe for Nick Anderer’s Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil » Get the recipe for Drunken Spaghetti »

Tortellini in Broth

Adapted from Trattoria Sostanza, a Florentine institution, this prosciutto-and-cheese-stuffed pasta is served in a simple chicken broth. Get the recipe for Tortellini in Broth »

Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage Sauce

Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage Sauce

Pasta Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta)

Less is more in an elemental Roman pasta dish which takes its spiciness from cracked black pepper toasted in oil. Get the recipe for Pasta Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta) »

Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots

Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots

Summer Bolognese

This recipe for summer bolognese has the classic comfort of bolognese, but without the heaviness of a red sauce, instead embracing the summer’s bounty of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh basil.

Pasta Primavera

Sirio Maccioni, the well-known restaurateur of Le Cirque fame, has been acknowledged for creating this dish. Get the recipe for Pasta Primavera »

Penne alla Vodka

Whether or not this dish of tube-shaped penne pasta lavished with a peppery, vodka-laced cream and tomato sauce was created in Italy is a matter of heated debate in some quarters some say it was the result of aggressive marketing on the part of vodka importers. Whatever the case, it has become firmly entrenched as an Italian American classic. Get the recipe for Penne alla Vodka »

Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions

For a creamy texture—without the cream—Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri purées fresh, starchy corn into a thick sauce that he then tosses with smoky scallions for a succulent summer pasta. Get the recipe for Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions »

Linguine with Clam Sauce

The secret to this simple and satisfying pasta dish is boiling the linguine until it’s just al dente, so that it will absorb plenty of the briny, winey sauce when the two are cooked together. Get the recipe for Linguine with Clam Sauce »

Lobster Linguine with Chiles

This classic pasta, from award-winning chef Fulvio Pierangelini at his restaurant, Irene, in Florence, Italy, is enriched with the lobsters’ coral, or roe sac. It adds a pop of briny flavor to the pasta, but can be omitted if the lobsters you buy don’t contain it. Get the recipe for Lobster Linguine with Chiles »

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù

Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta)

Braised in a spicy tomato sauce, sweetbreads and tripe become tender and succulent, while ricotta adds rich creaminess and mint a refreshing, springlike accent to this Italian pasta. Get the recipe for Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta) »

Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry, and Peas

We whipped up this tasty dish during a trip to Venice, using fresh ingredients we found at the local markets. You won’t find Venetian scampi in this country substitute good-quality baby shrimp. Get the recipe for Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry, and Peas »

Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive

Carrot ribbons cooked al dente and lightly braised red endive add color to this simple vegetable-packed pasta dish, brightened with lots of lemon zest. Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s Lucky Leek uses multicolored carrots for a beautiful presentation. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »

Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well they’re easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand and they’re simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »

Homemade Pasta With Spicy Cabbage and Bacon

Cabbage is a staple vegetable in Slovenia here it is wilted in bacon fat and spiced with cayenne before being tossed with homemade noodle dough for this traditional pasta dish. Get the recipe for Homemade Pasta With Spicy Cabbage and Bacon »

Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts

A mix of sautéed mushrooms, toasted walnuts, ricotta, thyme, honey, and pappardelle, this pasta dish needs only a green salad on the side. Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts »

Corzetti Pasta with Dried Mushroom Ragù

The silver-dollar-size rounds of corzetti (sometimes called croxetti) are elevated with a mushroom sauce bolstered by a savory veal stock. Get the recipe for Corzetti Pasta with Dried Mushroom Ragù »

Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)

Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)

Classic Easy Lasagna

Lasagna gets a bad rap for being a labor-intensive dish, but with a few shortcuts, like starting with store-bought lasagna sheets, you can make a great cheesy version any night of the week. Get the recipe Classic Easy Lasagna »

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Peperoncino Chiles

Once served at the end of a meal—post dessert—this simple, classic Roman pasta dish has become a staple first-course across the city.

Pasta e Fagioli

This version of the soup bean and pasta dish reverses the order of its stars turning it into a pasta dish laden with creamy beans and a creamy sauce. Get the recipe for Pasta e Fagioli »

Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)

Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)

Turkey Tetrazzini

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

This soup is a meal in and of itself, full of lots of vegetables, chickpeas, and pasta.

Spaghetti alla Primavera

Invented in 1975 by Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, this classic is a colorful combination of pasta, cream, parmesan, and lightly sautéed spring and summer vegetables. Get the recipe for Spaghetti alla Primavera »

Apple & Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Apple Casserole

Spaghetti Carbonara

Real Roman spaghetti carbonara is pasta, whole eggs, pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino romano cheese—never cream. The sauce should gild, not asphyxiate, the noodles. Get the recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara »

Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter

Simple ingredients—chewy, charred cauliflower, fried capers and bread crumbs, and browned butter, bolstered by whole grain mustard—combine for the ultimate late-winter pasta. Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter »

Seafood Pasta (Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare)

This pasta is filled with all kinds of seafood—clams, squid, shrimp, and lobster. Get the recipe for Seafood Pasta (Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare) »

Corkscrew Pasta With Sicilian Tomato Pesto

This flavorful pesto from Sicily is traditionally served with homemade busiate, a spiral-shaped pasta you can substitute dried fusilli in a pinch. Get the recipe for Corkscrew Pasta With Sicilian Tomato Pesto »

Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti

In this bright spring pasta dish of morels, asparagus, and cream, dried morels are rehydrated in boiling water that is then used to cook spaghetti, infusing the pasta with an earthy, mushroomy flavor. Get the recipe for Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti »

Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta

Roasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »

Shrimp Scampi

An Italian-American classic, shrimp scampi is a simple dish of sauteed shrimp tossed with a sauce of white wine, garlic, lemon juice, and butter, then served with pasta. Get the recipe for Shrimp Scampi »

Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel

We like to serve this pasta topped with a little shaved bottarga, the dried salted roe of tuna or gray mullet a sprinkle adds a briny, salty note that beautifully offsets sweet, oven roasted plum tomatoes. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel »

Sausage pasta recipes

Whether you like plain pork, chorizo or chipolatas, we've got you covered for the ultimate comfort food. Try our marvellously meaty sausage pasta dishes.

Sausage ragu

Feed the family this comforting, budget-friendly sausage ragu with pasta. You can freeze the leftovers for another time and it tastes just as good

Sausage pasta

Tomato, onion and garlic pasta sauce with sausage chunks for a bit of substance – brilliant for students (and as a hangover cure)

Chunky sausage & tomato pasta

Jazz up sausages with this spicy tomato pasta

Mushroom & sausage pasta

An easy pasta dish which will see you through many a midweek meal

Sausage, mushroom & tomato pasta

An easy supper to throw together last minute, if you have more time make the sausages into meatballs

Rigatoni sausage bake

A great way to get kids to eat spinach, this comforting sausage supper dish is also perfect for a hungry crowd

Sausage, kale & chilli pasta

This simple sausage and kale pasta dish is perfect for feeding the family. Give it a modern twist by using orecchiette, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser

One-pan spaghetti with nduja, fennel & olives

A spicy sausage pasta dish with a difference. Using the cooking water helps the sauce cling to the pasta and gives the dish more body. A silky smooth sauce, perfect pasta and one pan to wash!

Braised beef with macaroni au gratin

French cuisine hasn’t had a great press in the last few years. I’m not sure how fair that is or how qualified I am to judge given that our last family holiday in France was 8 years ago. We were in the South West near Bordeaux, and while we were surprised to have a couple of disappointing meals we also enjoyed some sublime cuisine. Rick Stein’s recent television series “Secret France” showed that delicious French food is alive and well throughout the country and here in Bristol the fairly new restaurant Little French has been highly praised in the national press and shows that the “unpretentious French food” it offers is beloved by many of us. Following a superb lunch there the other day, during which between us my husband and I enjoyed mackerel tartare, mouclade and frites, queen scallops and hake with clams, I was inspired to make Clothilde’s Beef, a recipe in Diana Henry’s book Food from Plenty. She tells how she first ate it on a French exchange as a teenager when it was cooked by her opposite number, Clothilde. She notes that instead of potatoes, her French family served it with a gratin of macaroni. This immediately took me back to the food I used to eat on my many visits to France as a teenager and later on as a student when I was doing a degree in modern languages. It’s exactly the type of dish the mother of my friend Françoise would make. How powerfully evocative food can be!


  • 1kg silverside of beef
  • Salt and butter
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 onions, halved and each half either sliced into crescent moons or cut into three or four wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150ml dry white or red wine
  • 4 carrots, halved lengthways
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 150ml chicken or beef stock
  • Season the beef
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan on the boiling plate and add the beef
  • Immediately transfer the pan to the floor of the roasting oven to brown, turning it over after about five minutes
  • Once brown, transfer the beef to a casserole while you add the onions to the pan, tossing them around in the fat before returning the pan to the floor of the roasting oven to cook the onions until golden. Keep an eye on them you don’t want them to burn
  • With the frying pan on the simmering plate add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or two
  • Add the wine to the onion and garlic mixture and bring it to boil
  • Add this mixture to the casserole along with the tomatoes, carrots, thyme and bay
  • Bring the stock to the boil in the pan on the simmering plate and pour it into the casserole
  • Season well, put the lid on and place the casserole in the simmering oven for a minimum of four hours. Mine was in there for about six the vegetables were soft and the meat wonderfully tender and the juice deliciously aromatic

For the macaroni au gratin

  • 150g macaroni
  • a little olive oil
  • salt
  • 150-200g Gruyère cheese (depends how cheesy you like it), grated
  • 230ml double cream
  • Cook the macaroni in boiling, salted water on the boiling plate for 5-6 minutes, until barely al dente
  • Drain in a colander and shake it dry
  • Spread it out on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss until coated to keep the macaroni from sticking to one another leave to cool
  • In a saucepan on the simmering plate bring the cream and ½ tsp salt to a boil, letting it simmer for a minute the cream will start to thicken
  • Add the macaroni and cook for a further minute before gradually adding about ¾ of the cheese, stirring and letting it melt into the sauce
  • Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle over the remaining cheese
  • With the rack on the first set of runners place the dish in the roasting oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning the dish round halfway through, until it’s sizzling hot with a golden brown crust

Hello, it’s been a while. Rest assured I’ve been cooking and have plenty to share with you, but somehow I have not got around to doing it yet. My youngest son has got me into sourdough baking, which I am enjoying far more than I ever expected. It’s challenging though and while my loaves are improving, I’m not ready to write about it yet.

Today I want to tell you about ragù: I’ve been experimenting a little with it lately. Ragù simply means meat sauce and I suspect in Italy it’s one of those dishes for which there are as many recipes as there are cooks. Here we tend to call it “bolognese sauce”, “spaghetti bolognese” being one of this country’s most popular dishes, despite the fact that in Bologna they always serve their ragù with tagliatelle and never spaghetti.

I’m sure you all have your favourite ragù/bolognese recipe. I wrote about mine here, as it’s used to make Tamasin Day-Lewis’s lasagne, but recently I’ve made some adjustments to it to make it work better in the Aga. I felt the finished sauce contained a little too much liquid one of the best Aga tips I’ve been given is to use less liquid than a recipe prescribes because in an Aga there’s no evaporation. It’s why Aga dishes are always so deliciously succulent and moist. The result of my tweaks is a thicker sauce and I’m very pleased with it. I’ve also been making another ragù recipe which my eldest son recommended to me it’s incredibly simple and delicious and comes from The Silver Spoon, the English edition of the bestselling Italian cookbook, Il Cucchiaio D’Argento. I own the Italian version, a Christmas present from my sons, but for some reason it doesn’t contain this specific recipe. You will see that the addition of garlic to this recipe is optional. I used to think garlic was essential to ragù but it turns out Italians often don’t add it. I urge you to try this recipe without I was surprised at how flavourful it was. The wine is also optional but I confess I have only ever made this version with wine.

I have only used minced beef in these two recipes but you can use half beef/half pork or veal. Ragù is also delicious with the addition of a little crumbled up Italian sausage. It must be a proper Italian one though, for reasons of both flavour and texture.

Anyway, here are the two ragù recipes for you, with quantities adjusted to make them work well in the Aga.

(Sorry, not sure how many people this large quantity will serve, but I’d say at least 10)

Fusi with braised duck (Fuzi all'anatra) (page 110)

From Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant Felidia by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Fortunato Nicotra and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

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  • Categories: Pasta, doughs & sauces Main course Italian
  • Ingredients: all-purpose flour eggs chicken stock dried porcini mushrooms whole duck bacon onions tomato paste dry white wine bay leaves rosemary whole cloves Grana Padano cheese


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