Kick up the Italian romance by making your own pasta with this recipe from Pasta Evangelists
It’s a warm evening. There’s a balmy breeze waltzing through your hair, and you’re slurping up the last strand of a gorgeously rich spaghetti dish until your lips almost meet those of the dashing person sitting next to you…
It’s at that point that you realise that this is your kitchen and not a hilltop trattoria and that the warm wind is coming from a battered old heater you’ve dragged in to pretend that it’s not February.
Oh, and it’s not spaghetti. It’s tagliatelle, and you’ve spent the entire afternoon making it yourself.
Look, we love the ease of packet pasta as much as anyone, but if you’ve got the time or energy to spare, it’s really fun to try making your own. A labour of love, if you like – or at least a labour of linguine.
In fact, Pasta Evangelists reckon that making your own pasta is the “epitome of romance” – and they should know. The pasta-by-post company specialises in bringing the trattoria to you, having sent out hundreds of restaurant-quality meal kits every week since its inception in 2015. So, we asked them to share their most romantic recipe with us: Ragù alla Bolognese served with elegant strands of homemade tagliatelle.
It’s a centuries-old dish that utilises “the magic of slow cooking,” says Pasta Evangelists; a dish that “intoxicates the air with a deeply savoury aroma until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth perfect”.
And the best bit? There’s no pasta machine required. All you need is some good quality ingredients (yep, this does include wine), a willing partner/friend/sous chef and the step-by-step guide below.
Plus, if it all goes horribly wrong, you can always let the experts do the work for you. Pasta Evangelists are offering Life etc. readers an exclusive discount on their first delivery with the code LOVEHUSH, valid until 15th February. Enjoy!
Ragù alla Bolognese with tagliatelle by Pasta Evangelists
Knife or pasta cutter
For the Ragù alla Bolognese:
300g minced beef
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
½ tsp dried rosemary
400g tinned tomatoes
35ml red wine (a bold Italian wine, like Barolo, would work well)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the tagliatelle:
200g “00” Flour
2 large eggs
To make the Ragù alla Bolognese:
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Then, add the crushed garlic and cook for one minute further, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the diced carrot and celery and cook until they are starting to soften. Then, add the minced beef and cook until all of the meat is browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon so there are no big lumps.
- Pour in the red wine and the tomatoes and add the rosemary. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer on a low to medium heat for 40 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. When cooked, the ragù should appear thick and glossy. If it is still watery after the 40 minutes have passed, remove the lid and simmer on a higher heat until the liquid is reduced.
- While the sauce cooks, prepare your fresh tagliatelle and cook it when you’re nearing the end of the cooking time for the ragù. Or, follow the packet instructions if you can’t be bothered to make it!
- Toss together the tagliatelle and bolognese sauce.
- Sprinkle liberally with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and serve. Buon appetito!
To make the tagliatelle:
- Pile your flour into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre of the mound and crack the eggs into it.
- Using a fork to begin with, slowly pull the flour from the sides of the mound into the well, so that the egg is absorbed by the flour. As the mixture thickens, start using your hands to continue incorporating the flour.
- If needed, add a few drops of warm water to the mixture and continue mixing until you have a ball of dough.
- Lightly flour the work surface and begin to knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball and keeping your fingers high. Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. This process should be carried out around 10 times.
- Roll the dough back into a ball and repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent it from sticking. Knead for 10-20 minutes, then roll into a smooth ball.
- Place the ball of dough in a small bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to one day in the refrigerator.
- If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least one hour before rolling and shaping.
Shaping the tagliatelle:
- To shape, lightly flour your surface and divide your dough into several roughly even pieces. Take one of the pieces and squash it into a rough circle.
- With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge. You can also use a pasta machine here if you have one, but it’s not essential.
- Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick or less. Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin.
- Lay your pasta sheet out and trim the edges so that you have a rectangular shape. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Carefully cut the pasta sheet into strands of tagliatelle. Each strand should be between 6mm and 8mm in width.
- Gently lift the pasta strips in the air and place them carefully onto a tea towel to dry, make sure they are separated.
- Repeat with the remaining sheets of dough. Place your pasta strands to one side until your Ragù is almost ready.
- Too cook it, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a generous amount of salt.
- Add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente (taste a piece before removing from the water).
- Drain the pasta and mix with the ragù. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and enjoy!