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Old 05-25-2015, 02:17 PM   #1
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Smile What does a good pasta and ragł do for you?

Hi everyone - I'm doing a bit of research on Pasta and Ragł. What does it do for you? I think it's one of those food combinations that, when it's really good, can make you feel really good, especially when all your family or friends are there with you to enjoy the experience. Do you think it has that special ingredient that makes it memorable? Do you like crunchy bits from round the edge of the dish (that you sometimes get with dishes like lasagne), What is your favourite ragł,and what makes pasta and ragł dishes popular in so many parts of the world?

I would be so interested to know what you think that magic ingredient is!

Tante grazie

di reston

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Old 05-25-2015, 02:46 PM   #2
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For me it's the flavor of the pasta perfectly made and cooked.
That's a whole subject in itself.
There are thousands of ragu dishes. Anytime you put something in a pot and cook it with a liquid you have made a ragu. Anyway.
A favorite is making a roux from dextrinized flour/unsalted butter then making a sauce veloute with a splash of Pernod then adding thin sliced large raw peeled prawns literally just before serving. Garnished with fine chopped fresh fennel frond. Good grind of pepper and a sprinkle of chili flakes.
Assuming the plate/pasta/sauce are hot as they should be the prawn slices are cooked perfectly in 30 seconds. The prawns are sliced paper thin lengthwise.
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:06 PM   #3
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For me it's the flavor of the pasta perfectly made and cooked.
That's a whole subject in itself.
There are thousands of ragu dishes. Anytime you put something in a pot and cook it with a liquid you have made a ragu...
I'm familiar with a more specific and limited definition. Ragu as a meat sauce for pasta.

Isn't there some Italian commission or other that controls such culinary matters. They define the rules for what Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto de Parma, etc. are. Ragu alla Bolognese is the most well known but there are others. I believe there is even one that's made with horse meat.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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Question

I wonder if this is a good place to ask about methods of making a ragu sauce. Whilst traditionally it is simmered for about an hour, Adelle Davis says that nothing is accomplished by doing this except evaporation (wouldn't the mince break down though, i.e. become more succulent?) She suggests just placing the mince in the reduced sauce in the fridge for the same length of time.

Thoughts? I haven't tried this out.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:19 PM   #5
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I'm making a mushroom-lamb version with fresh gnocchi for the photo shoot on Wednesday. Not to be confused with the French Ragout, even though the two words come from the same root word.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:17 PM   #6
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What does it do for me? Gives me a mad case of heartburn. That's what it does for me.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:57 PM   #7
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It makes me too satisfied. I love a great pasta, with boldly spiced ragu, or marinara, or bolognaise. What does it do to me, it makes me eat too much.

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Old 05-26-2015, 01:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by di reston View Post
Hi everyone - I'm doing a bit of research on Pasta and Ragł. What does it do for you? I think it's one of those food combinations that, when it's really good, can make you feel really good, especially when all our family or friends are there with you to enjoy the experience. Do you think it has that special ingredient that makes it memorable? Do you like crunchy bits from round the edge of the dish (that you sometimes get with dishes like lasagne), What is your favourite ragł,and what makes pasta and ragł dishes popular in so many parts of the world?
I would be so interested to know what you think that magic ingredient is!
Tante grazie
di reston
The answer is simple. Family and friends. Pasta is a dish that requires a family or group of friends to be present and join in the feast. As long as those who are sitting down to enjoy the feast together, their palates all agree on the same seasonings. NO, no hot pepper flakes. Yes, make it hotter please. More onion, more garlic, sweet peppers please, more oregano. No thank you, no cheese for me. Yes, please pass the cheese. I can never have enough cheese.

But when all the family sits down along with friends together, they have become accustomed to the same flavors over the years. They all like garlic or they hate it. The same with onion, red pepper flakes, etc. They all grew up in the same village learning to like the same food. But let a distant relative from another village come for a visit, she grew up with different seasonings in the family sauce. She may eat just enough to be polite and say nothing. Or she may comment. She may tell them how her family makes it. The host village is not willing to learn a new way of cooking their pasta. So they continue to cook their pasta dishes the way they always have and pass down the recipe to the next generation.

When a member of the family leaves for another foreign land, she brings that recipe with her and will teach it to her new neighbors.

During WWII we had a POW camp in our town that held Italian soldiers. After the war a lot of the soldiers didn't want to go back home. They had distant relatives here and were qualified to stay. We had Italian women who had been sent here prior to the war. They would cook and bring out the food to the POW camp. If there were some soldiers who came from Milan, she would feed them. The other women did the same for the soldiers of their town or village.

Face it. There is something very basic in Italian food. Maybe it is the seasonings. Or maybe it is simply family and friends sharing good food.
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:21 AM   #9
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Re: "that magic ingredient" - may sound mundane (and I don't always use it) but CELERY in the sauce definitely gives it a piquancy. (Since only a stalk is used I feel reluctant to buy a head of celery). Also, fennel makes a good substitute for celery.

Goes without saying I guess but a good quality meat - I like to use chorizo simmered on a very low heat for a while until it is rendered soft/yielding and succulent.

I tend to prefer fresh egg pasta (can be spaghetti, tagliatelle or conchiglie - the shells).

I also find serving it in large bowls adds to its appeal.
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:29 AM   #10
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There is indeed a ragł made with horse meat, in central Italy and southward. There is even a ragł of thrushes and guinea pig!

What I love about pasta and ragł is the making of it - it's definitely more a Sunday dish than a week day dish here in Italy. Usually the Ragł is made on Saturday afternoons, and undergoes very long cooking, even as much as six hours. The pasta is made fresh on the Sunday morning. It could be tagliatelle, maltagliati, malloreddus (Sardinia) ot other short pasta (but not too short). But what it really is is the practice of a very long tradition, with all the family helping, and after the long Sunday lunch. It is a dish that gives a wonderful feeling of wellbeing, such as few other dishes do.

Di Reston

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