Pappardelle With Umbrian Ragu Sauce


Since I am now living in Umbria, I am always looking to discover new Umbrian recipes. I have made many meaty ragu sauces in my life, but never one that contains just pork. Since Umbria is the only land locked region in Italy, meat is preferred over seafood as a rule, and pork in particular is very popular. Although I normally wouldn’t choose a hearty, meaty ragu for summer dining, we had my daughter and her family visiting and both my son-in-law, and all three children love “meat sauce”, so I decided it was a good time to create an Umbrian version. Like any meaty ragu sauces, a great thick pasta like pappardelle is the perfect choice to accompany the sauce as it is sturdy enough to hold up to heavier sauces. Generally, you will need 6 to 8 strands of pappardelle per person for a first course, or 8 to 10 strands as a main course. In Umbria, this sauce is also used to stuff white celery and onions. To really add an extra Umbrian flair you could add some shaved black truffles into the sauce just before serving, but we decided to keep things simple and left out the truffles. In Umbria, freshly grated Pecorino cheese is much more commonly served over pasta than grated Parmesan cheese, and it works really well with this meat sauce.

I also decided this time to use half semolina flour and half all-purpose or “tipo 0” and compare it with my usual pasta dough which I make solely with all-purpose flour. The pasta turned out great, although it was it was a little firmer in texture than usual and took a couple of minutes more to cook than pasta made just with all-purpose flour. I had recently bought a fluted pastry/pasta wheel that I decided to use to cut my pappardelle with giving it lovely scalloped edges.

You don’t need a kitchen full of equipment to make pasta, but a hand-rolling machine that also cuts is a big time saver. The Atlas model from Italy is an inexpensive brand, and it can be found in most department or kitchen stores. At around $30-40 it is well worth the investment if you think making pasta is something you’ll enjoy. A dough scraper is helpful particularly if you make your dough on the counter or on a pastry board as I do. I also have a few hand cutters that crimp, cut, and seal as you roll them over the prepared dough. Of course having a good pasta pot is very important, and makes preparation much easier. An eight-quart size seems to be the average size available.

To Make The Pasta Begin With A Mound Of Flour And Break The Eggs Into The Center

Cutting The Pasta into Pappardelle Strands

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Pappardelle With Umbrian Ragu Sauce

A thick and meaty pork ragu is the perfect sauce for fresh pappardelle pasta.

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 1 Carrot, Peeled & Finely Diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Finely Diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Finely Diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced
  • 1 Pound Ground Pork
  • 4 Ounces Finely Chopped Prosciutto
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2/3 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 2 (14 Ounce) Cans Chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dash Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

Pasta:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Semolina Flour For Pasta
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Directions:

  1. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan and cook the celery, carrot, and onion over medium heat until tender.
  2. Add the ground pork and chopped prosciutto and cook until the meat is no longer pink and has begun to brown.
  3. Add the garlic and cook an additional couple of minutes.
  4. Next add the wine and cook until it has almost completely evaporated.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for an hour and a half until the sauce has thickened.
  7. For the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter, and make a well in the center.
  8. Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added.
  9. Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well.
  10. Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny.
  11. Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board.
  12. Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.
  13. Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand, and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 8 minutes.
  14. Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  15. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and take one piece to work with keeping the other pieces wrapped in plastic wrap until needed.
  16. If rolling by hand, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and begin to roll the dough out into a rectangle dusting with flour as needed.
  17. The dough should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.
  18. If using a pasta roller, begin to roll the dough starting at the widest notch, dusting it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
  19. Continue to roll the dough, turning the knob to decrease the diameter until you get to the second last setting.
  20. Run the dough through this setting once more, then lay flat to cut.
  21. Once your dough is rolled out to the proper thickness, using either a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut into 3/4 to 1 inch strips.
  22. Lightly dust the dough as you separate the strands and continue to cut the remaining dough.
  23. Use the pappardelle within 1 hour of making it or it may become brittle.
  24. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente and drain, then return the pasta to it’s pot and add a large scoop of the sauce, tossing the pasta to coat.
  25. Serve the pasta in individual bowls with a scoop of additional sauce and freshly grated Pecorino cheese on top.