Ragù Bolognese

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hours 50 min
Total time: 3 hours
Yield: 6/8 servings

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 3.5 oz Shallots
  • 3.5 oz Celery
  • 3.5 oz Carrots
  • 10 oz Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 Bottle Red Wine
  • 1 Spoon Olive Oil
  • Salt
This is one of the most famous Italian Sauces. It takes a while to make because it has to cook slowly, but homemade Ragù is simply delicious. I usually make a lot of it and freeze the rest in many one-serving portions.
  1. Prepare all your ingredients, then start by mincing all the vegetables. I use the food processor.
  2. Brown the vegetables in a frying pan adding the olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Add all the meat and salt it. Break the meat down with a wooden spoon until it is well mixed with the vegetables (third picture). Cook on a slow fire until the meat no longer appears pink.
  4. When the meat is cooked and it has absorbed most of its fat, sprinkle it with the red wine. Let it cook until most of the liquids are absorbed.
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  5. Add the tomato puree, mix it in well, and let the sauce cook for at least another half a hour.
  6. Your homemade Ragù is ready. The traditional pasta pairing is with tagliatelle or fettuccine. Another popular one is spaghetti of course.
  7. You can also use Ragù to make a crostini or  bruschetta appetizer. Toast or grill the bread on both sides, add the Ragù on top and  serve immediately.
  8. I also love to serve Ragù on top of Italian Polenta, finer corn grits, trust me it is exquisite. (Final picture.)
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Ragù Bolognese by Camilla Isley September-20-2015

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Vodka Rigatoni

Total time: 20 min
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 2
  • 6 oz Pasta
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 3 oz Cream Cheese
  • 4 spoons Parmesan Cheese
  • Shallot
  • 1 spoon Olive Oil

This is a typical Italian recipe from the region Emilia Romagna, which is one of the best cooking hubs of Italy. (If it doesn’t ring a bell think Bolognese sauce, Ragu, Lasagna… they all come from there!)

  1. Prepare all your ingredients and set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. You can prepare the sauce in the time it takes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. For this kind of recipe I prefer to use Rigatoni pasta, but you can use any other kind you like.
  2. Mince one small shallot. (Shallots are tastier, but if you have any other kind of onion at home that’s ok too.)
  3. Brown the shallot in a skillet adding a spoon of olive oil. After a couple of minutes add 1 cup of vodka and let it reduce until you have more or less ¼ of the liquid left.
  4. Whenever the water is boiling throw in the pasta.
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  5. As blending ingredient I’m using cream cheese, this is the lighter, healthier option. I usually use fat-free or 2x protein. But if you’re looking for a tastier meal rather than saving on calories you can use cooking cream instead, if you really don’t care about calories and want to make this pasta more than delicious you should use Mascarpone cheese. Click to see the different calories in the blending ingredients.
  6. If you’re using the cooking cream or whipped cream cheese put in 6oz. Mascarpone 4oz.
  7. If you’re using regular cream cheese while the vodka evaporates put 3oz in a pot and add one or two ladles of the pasta’s cooking water (after you’ve salted it). Squash and mix with a fork until you have a mostly homogeneous white creamy liquid.
  8. When most of the vodka is evaporated, add the tomato sauce and mix, then add your blending ingredient of choice and mix again.
  9. Sprinkle everything with a pinch of salt and lower the fire to low.
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  10. Now would be a good time to grate the Parmesan cheese. You can buy it already grated, but taste-wise I find that whole cheese is better, and since grating it at home is really easy, I prefer it. To great it I cut the cheese in small cubes, drop them in the food processor, and leave it on until the grain satisfies me.
  11. When the pasta is cooked drain it.
  12. Throw the pasta in the skillet, add two generous spoons of grated Parmesan cheese, and mix for a minute or two on the stove.
  13. Plate the pasta, sprinkle with some additional Parmesan cheese, and serve.
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    The last pic is an example with Rotini pasta… you can use your favorite kind of pasta!

Vodka Rigatoni Pasta Recipe by Camilla Isley