transported back to Ballymaloe . . .

. . . but only in my mind! Yesterday I made the ragu sauce we made (or rather I watched being made) at Ballymaloe. Darina uses Marcella Hazan’s recipe from her Classic Italian Cookbook (which only seems to be available used from Amazon but of course it may be published in some of her other books). I made this recipe about a month ago just using the quantities given in Darina’s book Ballymaloe Cookery Course but Darina suggested making at least double as it needs to cook for a—g—e—s! She wasn’t half kidding! This time, I tripled the recipe and had to reduce nearly a litre of wine down to almost nothing! Whilst I wasn’t clock watching, it must have taken at least an hour and of course I had to be around stirring – none of this pop it in the AGA and leave it for a few hours. BUT it does taste amazing!

It’s made with minced beef, white wine, milk, nutmeg and tomatoes. This is quite different to how I made Bolognese sauce before I went to Ballymaloe. The finely chopped carrot, celery and onion (more finely chopped than mine) are sautéd in a mix of olive oil (extra virgin of course) and butter, then the mince is added but not browned, just cooked enough to lose the rawness. Next comes the wine which needs to be reduced to almost nothing, same with the milk (another lengthy process) and finally the tomatoes are added. At this point it’s left to simmer gently for somewhere between 3 and 5 hours. I did wonder during all of this whether it was going to be ready in time for dinner but it was. And yes, it was definitely worth it.

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I’ve also got lots in the freezer!

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