Our friend Marco comes from Italy, and whenever he cooks we always enjoy an amazing dinner. The pasta is always fresh and the sauce is dynamite. Last week he cooked a great meal and I asked him to share his recipes, so I could share them with you! Here are his recipes for Pasta with Meat Sauce, and Roasted Chicken With Potatoes!
Fettuccine al Ragu’ alla Bolognese
First of all I want to say that there is nothing to do with the premade sauce that you buy at the supermarket. “Ragu’ alla Bolognese” is a special meat sauce that is typical of Bologna (Emilia Romagna, Italy). This is a recipe that my mother gave to me and it is really close to the original Ragu’ alla Bolognese.
Ingredients for 4 people:
Pasta, (we have several options) :
- 1lb of short pasta (Rigatoni, Orecchiette, Farfalle, Shells, normally no Penne);
- or 1lb of Fettuccine (do not use spaghetti or linguine);
- or 2lb of Tortellini or Ravioli without meat ( they can be with ricotta and spinach or cheese but no meat);
½ lb of pure ground beef (without any kind of marinating or added flavor)
3cups of smooth tomato sauce (Hunt’s is the recommended one)
1 small onion
4 pieces of celery
1 cup of red wine
OLIVE oil (do not use any other kind of oil)
Chop the onion, carrot and celery into very small pieces by hand or with an electric chopper but do not blend them. Chop the ground beef with a knife, in order to have very small pieces.
Cover the bottom of a large pan with olive oil (less then ½ inch thick). Add a small amount of red pepper (this is not a spicy sauce, so just a little bit of red pepper or none at all according to your taste). Turn the burner at medium heat). Let the oil and the red pepper get warm (do not fry) and add the chopped vegetables. Stir and let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and stir and keep chopping and mixing the meet with the vegetables with a wood spoon and add salt to taste. When the beef is starting to turn brown increase the heat up to medium- high and add one cup of red wine. Stir and taste in order to adjust the salt.
When then wine has cooked down and the meat is cooked through (normally after 5 minutes) turn the heat down to medium and add the tomato sauce. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes and keep covered, occasionally stirring, to make sure the meat does not burn. Burned meat ruins the sauce and is a pain to clean!
Your Ragu’ alla Bolognese is ready, mix with your choice of pasta and add freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (no Romano!).
Coscie di pollo al forno con patate
Roasted Chicken legs with Potatoes and Rosemary
This recipe is very easy. Peal and cut the potatoes into small pieces(as small as you prefer). Marinate the chicken legs and the potatoes with salt, small pieces of garlic and dry rosemary all over the surface of the chicken and the potatoes. Put everything in a baking pan with olive oil (about ½ inch). The legs don’t have to overlay but they have to lay on the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes over top and between the chicken legs. Let it marinate for about 3 hours and then cook it in the oven at 425 degrees.
It takes from 50 to 90 minutes (depending on the quantities). For 2 people it takes 50 minutes!
It seems long but you can marinate everything in the morning and leave it in the fridge (covered with cooking paper). Put it in a preheated oven 1 hour before dinner.
My Mediterranean Salad
This is a great accompaniment to pasta and chicken, very refreshing and very easy to make. You can add olives to the mix if you like, but there were a lot of people who don’t love them so I left them out.
½ Purple Onion, sliced
4 Ripened Red Vine Tomatoes, sliced and seeds removed.
1 whole cucumber, peeled and sliced into small pieces
1 can of artichoke hearts
Salt and Pepper to taste
Zesty Italian Dressing (add to taste, or if you choose you can use Greek dressing)
1 cup of Feta cheese
Add all the vegetables in a large bowl after chopped, and add the salt and pepper. Add dressing and feta. Mix and cover. Put in the fridge. This can be served immediately or it can marinate in the fridge for a few hours. Enjoy!
Please feel free to comment! I know there are some of you who have already emailed me and have tried some of our recipes!