March 20, 2011

Sunday Ragù

Filed under: Italian Pasta — Tags: , , , , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 9:26 am

So it’s Sunday once more and a Sunday favourite in my house is my Sunday Ragù. It’s like “Bolognese” sauce only different, if that makes any sense. This is a meat and tomato sauce using meat pieces instead of mince and 2 or 3 different types of meat. This sauce needs to “bubble” that’s the secret as it were. I normally bring it to the boil, cover the saucepan, turn the gas down to the minimum and allow it to bubble for up to 3 hours, the more it cooks, the better it is my mother in law always says! Here you go! Buona Domenica!

700g of veal, cut into chunks (if you don’t like veal a nice rump steak will do the trick)

200g of pork ribs

4 pork chops

4 Italian sausage  (I use one per person. If you can’t get Italian sausage a good quality beef sausage is fine)

2 onions

1.5 litres of Tomato passata (if you can’t find passata some good quality tinned tomatoes passed through the processer)

200g Extra virgin olive oil

1/4 of a litre of red wine


salt and pepper


  1. Heat a deep saucepan (one with a lid) on the hob
  2. Add the oil and add the onion (chop it finely with a mezzaluna) and the meat to the saucepan
  3. Let them cook for a few minutes just to colour the meat
  4. Add the wine and allow it to “evaporate”. This takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the passata and season with salt.
  6. Bring to the boil and cover
  7. Turn the heat down to the minimum and allow to “bubble” for 2 and a half to 3 hours. This is called “pippiare”
  8. Stir the sauce often when it is bubbling on the hob, remember that sauce is stirred only with a wooden spoon and NEVER with a metal one!
  9. Add the basil at the last minute to the sauce!
  10. When it’s cooked I allow it to cool for about an hour before cooking the pasta, Penne rigate would be the best, or even better pennettone (big penne pasta)
  11. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saucepan again, add a little knob of butter and some sauce, put on a low heat and mix often so that the pasta absorbs the sauce.
  12. Serve the pasta and turn on the heat back on under the sauce.
  13. The meat is served as a main dish (secondo piatto) with some sauce and bread to “zuppare” (dip) into the sauce.




March 19, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara. The REAL one.

Filed under: Italian Pasta — Tags: , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 5:56 pm

So this is my mother in law’s recipe for spaghetti carbonara. No chicken. No cream. No mushrooms. Just simple homecooking and a real Italian recipe. I often make this for my friends when I return home a few times a year and they love it. Italian cuisine is so easy, no faffing about! It’s also very good for you, it’s not for nothing that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best and the healthiest in the world, you just need fresh, good quality ingredients and the best quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I think it’s worth paying that little bit more for the “first press” which is a nice green colour.

This recipe is for 4 people

360g spaghetti

200g guanciale (pancetta) or bacon

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 whole eggs and 1 yolk

80g grated Parmigiano or Pecorino

extra vergin olive oil



  1. Bring about 4 litres of water to the boil (the general rule is 1 litre of water every 100g of pasta). When the water is boiling add a nice handful of course salt.
  2. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water helping it “fold” down with a slotted spoon or a “spaghetti fork”
  3. Stir the pasta often so it doesn’t stick together!!!!
  4. While the pasta is cooking, in a frying pan fry of the pancetta and garlic for a few minutes.
  5. Taste the pasta a few minutes before it reaches the cooking time indicated on the packet, I like my pasta “al dente” but different strokes for different folks! Don’t throw the spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks! Drain the pasta and throw it in the pan together with the pancetta on a low heat, add a little glug of olive oil if you like.
  6. While the spaghetti is in the pan, prepare a large serving bowl and lightly whisk two full eggs and one yolk with a pinch of salt and the grated cheese.
  7. Throw the pasta and pancetta into the bowl on top of the egg mixture and give it a good mix before serving. Don’t thrown the egg into the pan as it will become scrambled!
  8. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.


I sometimes add some fresh chopped parsley and a little chopped chilli to the spaghetti just to change it up! Remember in Italy pasta is considered a starter and the 90g of spaghetti a person here is a big enough portion!!

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