We get through so much pasta on a weekly basis in our house. Pesto is our favourite for a quick family meal on a school night but when we have people round for dinner we always do one of the same two recipes. One is a Classic Ragu Bolognese from The Chiappa Sister’s book “Simply Italian” and the other is a Courgette Carbonara from Jamie Oliver’s book “Jamie at Home”. I’ve made these over and over again over the past few years and we never get tired of them so why not have a go and let me know which one you prefer? I can’t decide which one is my favourite Italian recipe.
Classic Ragu Bolognese
When I first made this recipe after seeing it on the Chiappa sisters TV series in 2014, we loved it so much that we basically decided that we would never eat bolognese another way ever again! Because you simmer the sauce for at least three hours, the beef breaks down and the texture and flavour with the red wine is amazing.
100g smoked pancetta
1 red onion
2 sticks celery
1kg good-quality beef mince
A glass of red wine
2 beef stock cubes
2 bay leaves
1 x 140g tin tomato purée
500ml boiling water
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Cut the pancetta up with scissors and fine chop the carrot, celery and onion.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the pancetta for 2 to 3 minutes until crisp.
Stir in the onion, carrot and celery and leave to sweat for 10 mins with the lid on.
Add the beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until it has browned all over.
Pour in the red wine and keep stirring for 2 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add the tomato purée and stir into the sauce, then add 500ml of boiling water from the kettle and crumble in the beef stock cubes and the bay leaves.
Simmer slowly for at least 3 hours with the lid ON to let the flavours intensify and the beef break down.
Season with salt and pepper if necessary and serve with pappardelle or a large pasta shape such as tortiglioni as the sauce sticks to these better than spaghetti.
Find the original recipe here at Thechiappas.com
I’m not a massive fan of eggs so I love this recipe because the sauce is really smooth and creamy rather than with scrambled eggy bits. I love to make this in the summer when we have homegrown courgettes from our garden as the flavour is stunning compared to the supermarket ones.
4 medium courgettes, mix of green and yellow if available
4 large free-range egg yolks
150 ml double cream
1 small handful of Parmesan cheese
100g pancetta cubes
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter any larger courgettes lengthways. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller courgettes can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions.
To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and grate in half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper, and put to one side.
Heat a very large frying pan and add a little splash of olive oil. Cut the pancetta or bacon into chunky lardons and fry until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper. Pick, chop and sprinkle in the thyme leaves (reserving any flowers), give everything a stir, so the courgettes become coated with all the lovely bacon-flavoured oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
You need to work quickly on the next step. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgettes, bacon and lovely flavours, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now unless you want to scramble the eggs.)
While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, grate in the rest of the Parmesan and add a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. Serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.
Find the original recipe here at Jamieoliver.com
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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, it’s great to be linking up again for the #dolcevitabloggers linky after a few months away. Don’t forget to head over to see the favourite recipe posts from Kelly at italianatheart.com, Jasmine at questadolcevita.com and Kristie at mammaprada.com
You can see my previous Dolce Vita Bloggers post with my favourite five Italian words here.