An Italian white ragu is a term you probably may not have heard before. It’s basically a take on the classic bolognese recipe that the Brits have embraced and loved, minus the tomatoes. It may sound a little strange, but after experiencing this delightful dish on my travels in Perugia, Umbria in central Italy, I’ve not looked back.
During these Covid-19 times, shopping for our favourite ingredients has become slightly difficult for some as certain ingredients have limited availability. Tinned tomatoes being one of those. When I last visited my main supermarket, there was not one tin left on the shelf. A very surreal moment. Luckily, my Italian deli was well stocked at the time so I was able to purchase a few cans.
However, I thought it would be a great time to share with people a selection of pasta sauces that don’t necessarily use tomatoes and if someone wanted a pasta ragu but didn’t have any tinned tomatoes then this recipe would definitely satisfy that need.
This is another great recipe, that needs only a few basic ingredients. The base is made of a ‘soffritto’ – a softy fried medley of vegetables flavoured with Italian herbs. A mix of beef and pork meat is then added and browned. I would suggest using Italian sausage and pancetta as your pork to give a lovely smoky or salty flavour to the dish. Then a little white wine and stock are added to enhance the flavours of all the ingredients. You finish the dish off by adding your pasta, with a generous sprinkling of parmesan which when mixed in with the ragu and its light sauce, creates a lovely creaminess. I don’t think you need to add cream but you could add some for extra richness.
You will have stopped wondering where the tomato is after your first forkful of this Italian white ragu. I promise.
The ingredients and full recipe are below for you.
Italian white ragu pasta
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 tsp dry thyme/sage/rosemary
250g beef mince
250g pork mince, sausage or pancetta mix
100ml dry white wine
400ml vegetable stock
20g Parmesan, grated
400g tagliatelle or any flat ribbon pasta or rigatoni
ITALIAN WHITE RAGU PASTA
- Drizzle olive oil in a wide saucepan and wait for it to heat up. Then add your chopped and diced vegetables. Season with a pinch of salt. Softly fry on a low heat for about 5 minutes
- Next, add your dry herbs to the pan. Stir well into the vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add both your beef and pork mince/sausage/pancetta to the pan and on medium heat, cook and brown for 5-10 minutes.
- When the meat has browned, pour in the white wine and cook until it has evaporated.
- When the wine has evaporated, pour in the stock, bring it the boil, cover with a lid and then simmer for approx 20-30 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t completely dry out as we need some of that liquid to coat our pasta in. Add more stock if necessary.
- Now taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- In the meantime, cook you the pasta in salted boiling water. When cooked al dente, add the pasta to the ragu with a couple of tablespoons of pasta water.
- Coat the pasta with the ragu and the base sauce and finish off the dish with grated parmesan. Give it one final stir and serve immediately.