Pappardelle slow-cooked beef & pancetta ragu

Perfect as a main or part of an Italian-style feast, this hearty slow-cooked ragu can be made ahead of time, so there’s no need to stress on the night. Buonissimo!

List of ingredients required

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1.25kg gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces

  • 1 large brown onion, chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

  • 1 red capsicum, finely chopped

  • 100g pancetta, finely chopped

  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

 

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

  • 3/4 cup red wine

  • 1/3 cup tomato paste

  • 410g can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup of beef style liquid stock

  • 750g dried pappardelle pasta
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • Grated parmesan, to serve

  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve

    The Recipe

     

    1. Heat 1/2 the oil in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook the beef, in 3 batches, for 6 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.

    2. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in same dish. Add onion, carrot, celery, capsicum, pancetta, rosemary and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until vegetables just begin to soften.
    3. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until vegetables are coated. Stir in wine. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute or until reduced slightly. Add tomato paste, stock and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

    4. Return beef to dish. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours, or until meat is very tender and sauce thickens. Use the back of a spoon to break up meat 

    5. Cook pasta following packet directions. Drain well. Return to pan. Add butter. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve ragu on pasta, sprinkled with parmesan and parsley.

    How to Make the Perfect Carbonara

    Pasta alla carbonara” in its original Italian name, is a tasty main course known and loved all over the world. A pride of the traditional Italian cuisine.

    It’s a simple and very tasty sauce but to the perfect, it needs to be made following to some rules. This is a typical dish particularly in the Roman cuisine, and it’s made with simple ingredients such as eggs, pecorino cheese and guanciale.

    For a perfect carbonara sauce, the fundamental rule is to use the right ingredients: always remember that carbonara is made with guanciale, and not with bacon. 

    The use of the guanciale actually makes the carbonara less fat and most important, it gives a much more delicate flavor. The result is very different.

    However, for the perfect carbonara sauce, another important rule must be acknowledged: the dressing must be a cream. That’s why eggs should not be fully cooked, but remain well mixed and creamy around the pasta, becoming a real sauce.

    List of ingredients required

    • 6 eggs

    • 400g of pasta, spaghetti are a popular choice but it can be any.

    • 50G of grated Roman pecorino cheese

    • 30g of grated parmesan cheese

    • 1 high slice of guanciale

    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • Extra virgin olive oil

    • Salt

    You will need large pan, a large bowl and a whisk or mixer to prepare everything.

    The Recipe

    1. Grab the guanciale and cut it into small cubes

    2. In a pan with a little oil, fry it until it turns golden, then turn off and set aside

    3. In a large bowl, break the eggs, add a pinch of salt, and beat them with a whisk until frothy

    4. Little by little add all the pecorino cheese, while keep beating and then add the parmesan

    5. Keep beating until you get a thick and homogeneous cream

    6. Add the fryed guanciale, a generous amount of pepper and mix again with the whisk or the mixer

    7. Now transfer the cream into a large saucepan

    8. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, take 1 ladle of water and add it to the cream in the saucepan

    9. Stir the cream with a quickly movement

    10. Drain the pasta ‘al dente’ and pour it into the saucepan and turn on the heat immediately after draining the pasta

    11. Stir the pasta with the cream, stirring fast with a wooden spoon or fork

    12. Serve immediately, with a handful of grated pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of pepper.

    Vegetarian Starters for Any Occasion

    We are bringing a complete collection of vegetarian starter’s recipes to be made in an easy and quick way so stay tuned!

    You can use that as a vegetarian starter for special occasions such as Christmas eve or New Year’s eve, whenever you need to bring to your festive table a tasty appetizer both cold or hot, and even for Easter… to have fun with some gourmet vegetarian starters.

    In this recipes you will also find vegetarian starters suitable for intolerances or dietary restrictions such as gluten free (for celiacs), dairy/cheese free, egg free (for vegans), or just simply a light vegetarians starter for keeping in shape.

    If you want to refine your search, have a look to other types of starters that we suggest you below.

    SICILIAN CAPONATA

    Traditional recipe of sicilian caponata, made of eggplant, pine-nuts, raisin and tomatoes.
    One of the most flavoursome version, to be easily prepared in your kitchen.

    There’s many alternative for the caponata or caponatina…with or without bell peppers, without pine-nuts or potatoes and also with the eggplant being the only main ingredient.
    Maybe that’s a secret kept between sicilian people, as this dish is a traditional one of Trinacria.

    Let’s then start preparing the recipe of a quick sicilian caponata, a delicious and rich in history preparation.

     

    Ingredients

    3 Bell Peppers

    2 Carrots

    1 Eggplant

    1 Red onion

    1 Courgette

    150 gr Cherry tomatos (pachino)

    100 ml White wine

    2 spoons of pine nuts

    Herbs

    Extra virgin olive oil

    Salt

    Chilli pepper

    How to Prepare a Sicilian Caponata

    1. Wash, cleanse and cut the eggplant in small cubes. Set aside in a colander and add the salt.
      Let it rest for about 1 hour for the eggplant to release that bitter vegetation water.
    2. Heat up 2 spoons of extra virgin olive oil in a tin. Strain the eggplant cubes and brown in oil over medium heath. Cover the pan with a lid to facilitate the cooking.
    3. In the mean time, cut the other vegetables (courgette, bell peppers, carrots) in small cubes.
    4. Mince the red onion and garlic. In a different large pan, stir-fry the onion and garlic, together with 3 spoons of olive oil.
    5. Add courgette, bell peppers and carrots previously chopped. Combine the eggplant’s cubes and well amalgamate the mixture. Add pine nuts, herbs and chilli pepper. Slightly salt it.
    6. Simmer with white wine, combine whole cherry tomatoes (they’ll flake apart during cook) and tomato sauce. Cover the pan and let it cook on a low flame for 1 hour.
    7. Serve your caponata warm or cold, complimented by boiled rice or home-made bread crouton!

    Summer rolls: a fun and tasty option for dinner

    These rolls are tasty, quick to prepare and often can be a good option for a last-minute meal. Also they can be prepared with many ingredients.

    They are the secret card for a fun and tasty dinner: the rolls can be prepared with a variety of ingredients such as with vegetables, meat or fish, for all tastes. The stuffing is covered with slices of what you prefer, from fish to vegetables, which can be served both hot and cold, therefore perfect even for these warm days which lower the desire to eat something above 10 degrees.

    Dried fruit, breadcrumbs and oil. The filling is ready.

    There are infinite versions of fillings that can be prepared but if you have little time and still want a tasty result, choose chopped dried fruit with a spoonful of breadcrumbs, a little of excellent quality extra virgin olive oil, the adding some herbs, and it is done. The same can be with grilled or baked vegetables, as well as slices of all types of meat will have an intriguing and delicious flavour.

    And now try our suggestions, suitable for all menus, vegan included!

     

    Vegetable Rolls

    Take two yellow peppers, cut them lengthwise, obtaining 8 layers, deprive them of seeds and white part and then let them roast in the oven for 1 hour at 100 °.

    In the meantime, take an onion, a fennel, a celery stalk and a carrot and chop everything.

    Put the chopped vegetables in a pan with three tablespoons of oil and lightly roast them.

    Add half a litter of water and cook over low heat for about an hour.

    Once cooked, blend the vegetables with a mixer.

    Also chop 100 g of Taggiasca olives in oil, 50 g of desalted capers and a sprig of parsley. Add them to 100 g of breadcrumbs, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

    Remove the peppers from the oven, lay them on a cutting board and fill them with olives and breadcrumbs, roll them up and place them on a baking sheet. Heat them for ten minutes at 180 degrees and then serve on the pureed vegetable cream.

     

    Turkey and Pistachio Rolls

    The turkey meat is tender and has a delicate flavour, perfect to combine with a stronger taste such as mortadella.

    Take slices of turkey, beat them with a meat tenderizer, to thin them, lay and cover them with a slice of mortadella and a mince of basil. Close the slices, forming a roll and pass them in the pistachio grains.

    In a pan, put extra virgin olive oil, half a glass of white wine and a few sprigs of rosemary.

    Place the rolls in the pan, salt them and cook them at 180 degrees for 50 minutes, until they are golden brown.

     

    Rolls with swordfish and fennel

    The swordfish carpaccio is perfect for the creation of these rolls that can be served as a second serve or, if you prefer, as a fish appetizer.

    Take the slices of swordfish and marinate them for an hour in with lemon juice and salt, then remove them from the marinade and cover them with fresh and cleaned lettuce leaves.

    Add chopped walnuts, fennel and bell pepper strips and roll them.

    Finally put them on a plate and complete the dish with a tarragon sauce mixed with oil, salt and pepper.

     

    Parma Ham Rolls

    These types of rolls are delicious, easy to prepare and perfect for a fresh and quick lunch.

    Take 100 g of shelled fava beans and blend them with 100 g of shelled pistachios.

    Add two tablespoons of grated pecorino cheese, a drizzle of oil, pepper and the grated zest of one lemon to the mince.

    Mix well and fill each slice of ham with the prepared stuffing.

    Cut all slices in half and place them on a serving plate with fresh salad seasoned with lemon juice and salt.

     

    Pork and Pepper Rolls

    It is needed a whole piece of pork loin to prepare this dish.

    Rub the meat with salt, put it in a pan with sage and rosemary, add oil and bake at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning it over often.

    Once cooked and cooled, cut the meat into thin slices (preferably with an electric knife).

    Meanwhile, prepare the filling: take a pepper, wash it, remove the seeds and the white part and cut it into cubes. Slice half an onion and some thyme leaves.

    Collect the vegetables in a bowl and season them with oil and salt.

    Now take the slices of meat and stuff them with the seasoned vegetables. Roll them to form the rolls and serve them cold.

    Italian cuisine – Based in simplicity and quality ingredients

    Italian cuisine is known mainly for its vast diversity on a regional level, its abundance in taste and seasoning and as a classic example of a Mediterranean diet, recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2010. Furthermore it is one of the best known and appreciated gastronomies globally: in 2019, for example, the US television station CNN placed it in the first place of a ranking with the best cuisines in the world and according to a survey conducted by YouGov based on 24 countries, the Italian gastronomy was the most appreciated with 84% of preferences.

    One of the main characteristics of the Italian cuisine is its simplicity, with many dishes consisting of 4 up to 8 ingredients. Italian chefs rely on the quality of the ingredients rather than on the complexity of preparation. Traditional dishes and recipes, over the centuries, have often been created by grandmothers rather than chefs, reason why many Italian recipes are suitable for homemade meals and daily cooking, respecting the territorial characteristics, privileging only raw materials and ingredients typical of the region of origin of the dish and preserving its seasonality. Many Italian dishes that were once known only in the original regions but over the time they have spread throughout the country.

    Cheese (a food which Italy holds the greatest diversity of existing types) and wine (of which Italy is the world’s largest producer and the second largest exporter after Spain) are an important part of Italian cuisine, with many indigenous varieties and, in the wine sector, with specific legal protections: the Denominations of controlled origin (DOC) and the Denominations of controlled and guaranteed origin (DOCG).

    Also coffee, especially espresso, the one made by mocha and the Neapolitan one, is an important and typical drink of Italian cuisine.

    In Italian cuisine the main meals are:

    Breakfast

     

    The most popular breakfast nationwide is usually sweet, with hot or cold milk or fruit juice accompanied by baked products such as biscuits or the classic croissant.

    The coffee predominates with the variants of cappuccino, latte or the famous espresso.

    Less frequent, but not unusual, can be the savoury breakfast often composed of focaccia or just some toasted homemade bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil or with tomato or some sliced ​​cured meat.

     

    Lunch

    Traditionally, in the Italian culture, lunch is the most important meal of the day and is, if complete, made up of three or four courses:

    An appetizer, cold or hot, is the least abundant course, and is generally composed of croutons or bruschetta, salami and / or sausages, cheeses and / or dairy products or cooked and / or raw vegetables or preparations based on fish and / or seafood;

    the first course, usually a dish based on pasta or risotto, rice or polenta or legumes or a soup;

    the second dish, generally based on meat or fish or dairy products and / or sausages, accompanied by a side, often composed of raw and / or cooked vegetables; then some sweet and / or fruit to finish

    coffee: it is very frequent and traditional in Italy that a meal, and above all a lunch, is completed by an espresso, followed by the so-called ammazzacaffè, that consists in a glass of local liqueur, bitter (like a lucano or a montenegro) or sweet (for example limoncello or sambuca).

    Wine is inevitable on the Italian’s tables, especially during a main meal such as lunch.

     

    Dinner

    Unlike lunch, a typical and daily Italian dinner does not include the presence of a first course based on starchy foods (like pasta or polenta) or cereals (like rice), so the main course is generally made up of what during lunch would be equivalent to a second dish (therefore a preparation based on meat, fish or cooked and / or raw vegetables) or at most a (light) soup, including however the presence of bread.

    The classic scheme of a common Italian dinner consists in an appetizer and a second dish that serves as a main course (or as a first course, if viewed from the perspective of Italian lunch), followed by a side dish of cooked or raw vegetables. However, the presence of a single dish as dinner is not uncommon during dinner.

    Some specialties of Italian cuisine

     

    Bread, Pizza and Focaccia

    Bread, peasant food par excellence, has always been, as indeed also for other European and especially Mediterranean countries, a fundamental food in Italian cuisine and there are various regional types. Pizza in particular is the most famous and consumed Italian food in the world.

    Pasta

    The pasta, dry, fresh, including egg based or filled, is certainly the best-known product of Italian cuisine and the one that is most universally associated with it, there are many types, some of which are world famous and others only spread regionally.

    Rice

    Italy is the first rice producer in Europe, various and famous are the existing types of Italian rice and many Italian dishes in which it is present, so this food also enjoys great importance in Italian cuisine.

    Eggs

    In Italian cuisine, eggs are prepared in various ways and recipes.

    Meat

    Meat, both bovine and swine, sheep, goat, equine, burrow, poultry and game is also very present and appreciated in Italian cuisine, which offers it in a very wide range of typical preparations and recipes that vary from region to region.

    Fish

    Since Italy is surrounded for more than three quarters by the sea, has a large coastal development and is rich in deep and fishy lakes, even fish, crustaceans, molluscs and seafood, as well as meat, keep an important role in Italian cuisine.

    Cured meats and sausages

    Italian cuisine can boast many types of sausages and cured meats, many of which are protected and marked as DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), which make up about 34% of the total European sausages and salami

    Cheeses

    The variety of Italian cheeses is vast, there are about 600 distinct types across the country, an almost infinite variety of types and flavours.

    Desserts

    The desserts, in Italian cuisine, vary from region to region and in an infinite number of recipes and preparations, some of which, over time, have crossed the regional borders or citizens spreading nationally and some others have become internationally famous.