You may have noticed, Italian restaurants – and Italian food in general – are everywhere. Not that we would complain about that. But how many of those can claim to make actual, authentic Italian cuisine? Tastes change, recipes get lost, chefs and restaurant owners want to innovate and often end up disregarding decades or even centuries of culinary traditions. And let’s not even get started on pizza fast food joints and other late-night-out eats.
Let’s take a moment to focus on some good old Italian recipes. After all, Italian cuisine is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world, and with reason: a cuisine of love, patience and sunshine, full of colours and bursting flavours, made from the freshest ingredients… What’s not to love?
Of course, we cannot talk about Italian food without talking about pasta… Did you know, the choice of the sauce and the pasta to go with it (and vice versa) depend on several factors? First, you have short pasta and long pasta: they “catch” sauces differently, which in turns determines how thick to make a sauce. The quality of pasta is another factor: you have dry industrial pasta, and soft egg pasta – sauces will taste differently according to the pasta you cook them with! You can find industrial egg pasta of course, but it contains considerably less egg than home-made egg pasta. Take into account pasta thickness too. More thickness means less sauce or stuffing for an amount of pasta.
Let’s have a go at a traditional recipe for Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. Invite the vintage vibe into your kitchen and do it all by hand, from the pasta to the sauce… Or cheat a tiny bit for a fail-proof recipe: we’ll give you the best tips to make an authentic tasting recipe, while saving time and effort.
First, to make the egg pasta, you will need 100g of flour for each 1 egg. Make sure to use Italian type « 00 ». It’ll be best to have a pasta machine for these. Mix the eggs and flour well to form a dough ball, which you can divide into smaller balls which’ll pass through the machine. Start with the largest wheel on the pasta machine. Pull the sheet and tighten the machine, 2 or 3 holes further. Tighten a bit more according to recipes. Leave the dough to rest a few minutes, then pass through the machine again, on a thick setting for tagliatelle. To cut tagliatelle, roll up the sheet and cut off sections. Unroll and leave to dry a bit.
Alternatively, visit your local fine Italian deli. Ask for home-made egg pasta – only those will guarantee the best taste to go with your Bolognese sauce!
For the sauce, make sure you plan a few hours ahead, as the meat will need that much time to cook well and absorb the flavours. Chop up vegetables – mainly a lot of tomatoes, and onions, but you can add carrots, celery… Chop up some basil and other herbs to your liking. There are many recipes for Bolognese, or ragout, so feel free to be a bit imaginative on this one. Cook in a casserole with a generous helping of olive oil.
When nice and hot, add cloves, nutmeg, and minced meat (usually half and half pork and beef). Mix well, add tomato pulp, and leave to simmer for a good 3 hours. That’s right, 3 hours. Because that is long enough, you might want to save yourself some time and effort by simply adding minced meat to Dolmio Bolognese sauce and leaving to simmer. It contains mostly ripe sun-drenched tomatoes and tasty herbs and onions, so it’s as authentic and natural as you will get when it comes to jarred tomato sauce. For vegetarians, simply fry some vegetables then add the Dolmio sauce, leaving out the meat (or try with veggie mince like Quorn!).
So there you have it, a traditional, fuss free recipe for Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. It can be long, it’s not super fancy like what all those modern restaurants serve, but my oh my is it tasty!