Ragu' Toscano (Tuscan Ragu'), Pasta alla Pistoiese (City of Pistoia)
I love traveling about Italy, especially when I am on my own. I have been known to disappear on long drives, only to happen on a small Medieval town. This time, not long ago, I stopped in Pistoia in the hills of Tuscany. What a wonderful place to take in the sights and the people. It's hard not to love all of it, the people, the countryside. Why would I ever return home? I didn't have to go far to a local bar and ask where to eat. Just ask a local and he will probably escort you there. A nearby Trattoria, a glass of local Montpulciano.and a great local dish that involved Pasta of any kind and I was in heaven. After charming my waiter, which wasn't terribly difficult, given his big smile and handsome face, I quickly made my way into the kitchen just to observe the seriousness of it all and his Mother at the command post. I quickly learned to be sure and stay out of the way. I am long overdue for a visit.
This simple and delicious recipe, will have you coming back for seconds. By all means, cook some extra pasta.
Ingredients: 4 people
One pound of Penne Pasta or Spaghetti (dish is made with fresh Pasta). Lots of good, dry varieties on the market.
8 quarts of salted water brought to a rolling boil
One large skillet to accommodate your ingredients
One medium carrot/ diced
1/2 medium onion diced ( I like to use sweet Italian red in my kitchen, however traditionally, yellow onion is used)
One celery stalk, peeled and diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces ground veal
4 ounces of ground beef
1/2 cup of dry red wine ( I like to use whatever I am going to have on the table to drink)
One tablespoon tomato paste diluted in 3 tablespoons of water
Salt / pepper to taste
Method: Heat your oil to medium in a large skillet. Add thee vegetables and cook on medium/ low for 30 minutes time. I like to add a pinch of salt to them as it helps the vegetables break downand cook.
Keep an eye on them and give them a mix so they don't stick. When everything is fragrant and soft, add your beef and veal. Give it a mix and brown some. Add your wine, tomatoes and continue to mix.
Turn your heat down to low and place a cover on the pan.
When the oil separates from the pan (After about 30 minutes), it's done. Cook your pasta to al dented, drain and toss. Don't forget a little Parmigiano Reggiano if you like. I prefer it without. Buon Appetito!