Friday, August 27, 2010


Last week, I had the best ragu I've ever eaten out of Bologna. In fact, it may have even been better than Da Mario's - a lazy Sunday afternoon risto just outside the old Bologna walls where we'd talk and drink, and eat steaming bowls of spaghetti ragu.

A couple of months ago, I ranted on how there is no Bolognese anymore...or at least, no one really knows the true recipe. This could-be Italian version was built up and simmered down to a soft and livery texture which melted as soon as it touched the tongue. So I think I take what I said back on this account. We shared a small amount between nine but the flavour was so spot on that it was all we needed. You know you've hit a good one when you're happy with savouring just a little (unless you've hit a bad one and you'd rather have none).

Trying to recreate this beast of a recipe in my own way, I switched beef for pork and apple sausages which slightly sweetened the rich sauce, but still held the fantastically earthy flavour of the original. I uuurrrrge you to try this. It takes a while to get it really good, but you can - though it would be a crime to - skip the slow-cooking. A perfect way to spend a day-off, and by the time you eat it, your house will be dripping with good smells, enough to make you want to lick the wallpaper.

REAL RAGU: Sausage style.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 large pork and apple sausages, meat removed from skins
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
1/2 750ml bottle white wine
100ml milk
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of oregano

1300 HOURS: In a large heavy based pan or casserole dish, gently fry the onions in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic. Having removed the meat from the sausage skins, add to the onions and break up with a wooden spoon. Fry until the meat has become crumbly and light in colour.

1330 HOURS: Pour in the wine and turn up the heat so that all the alcohol burns off. Be careful not to let the meat stick, by stirring gently. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, milk, herbs and spices. Place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for as long as possible, or place in a low heat oven or Aga.

1900 HOURS: Leave it to rest an hour before you eat, and spoon off some of the excess fat which will have risen to the top of the pan.

2000 HOURS: Serve with spaghetti or large penne cooked to al dente, a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan and a large glass of something good.

If seven hours seems daunting, you can take it off and carry on the next day. Or leave it, have lunch, read a book, make pudding, have a snooze, go for a...and it'll be ready for supper. Good from frozen too, but I doubt you'll need to.


  1. Yum. This is quite similar to how I make my Slow-Cooked Chilli.

  2. Auuugh - love a rich ragu, esp on a grizzly, grey day like today. Would never have thought to put pork and apple sausages in x

  3. Lovely blog Elizabeth! Your chilli looks scrum. Nothing like a bit of time on hands to make something extra good. I'm glad you use milk too. It's a new thing for me but I now wonder why I never did it!

    Salty, I've always been a sausage fan. But not as much a fan as I am of otter egg

  4. Yeesh....that really is slooooooow cooking. Amazing. I'm not sure about the sausages though - you'll have to come and convince me.

  5. I just wanted to say I love your blog!

    There is a recipe for Bolognese going in my book .. which is delicious .. but your last recipe looks fab.. I just wish i had time to make it !

    I'm making chili chocolate cupcakes on camera this afternoon .. bit I was just emailing you to say I think you would enjoy my tomato and garlic pasta sauce. it's a treat of a recipe. ( on the blog..)

    Keep up the writing .. and I must say I LOVE you En saison .. I hope yo won't mind I may have to copy the idea ? Just asking if that's ok to do so !?

    Kind regards

    Vanessa Ee Kimbell