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Global Eats: Ragus of Italy ๐Ÿ

Global Eats: Ragus of Italy ๐Ÿ

Italy is known for its good food. Eating something Italian means that you'll be eating something made with the freshest ingredients, great skill and, most of all, lots of love. Tomato and meat-based sauces are super popular in Italy and they go by the term ragu. Ragu dates back to the 18th century, when the French invaded Italy and brought with them the French ragout. Chef Alberto Alvisi gave his own twist to the recipe and the Italian ragu was born. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ

Ragu is the name given to a sauce that is made from tomatoes and ground meat, cooked over a long period of time. The long looking process allows for all of the flavors to marry together, making the sauce richer and more delicious. Let's have a look at the different types of ragus across the wonderful land of Italia. ๐Ÿ

Ragu Napoletano

This thick sauce is similar to the bolognese ragu; the main difference is that ragu Napoletano does not start with carrots, onions and celery, or what is known as a soffritto. This ragu also uses whole cuts or large chunks of meat and a great amount of tomato sauce. Ragu Napoletano does not only use one type of meat, but requires different types of beef and pork. Other than meat and tomato sauce, onions, red wine and extra virgin olive oil are also added to the dish. ๐Ÿคค

The way this Napoletan dish is served is also slightly different. Typically, the sauce is used with pasta, whereas the meat (with some of the sauce) is served as a second dish. In Malta, you can get Rigatoni Al Ragu Classico Napoletano at Vecchia Napoli or Polpette Al Ragu Napoletano at Storie e Sapori. โœŒ๏ธ

๏ปฟRagu alla Pugliese

The most common ragu Pugliese is made with beef olives (better known to us Maltese as bragjoli, or braciole to the Italians). The meat is filled with garlic, fresh chopped parsley, some salt and pepper, and a bit of grated cheese. They are then seared in some olive oil with garlic and once done, the tomato sauce together with some salt is added and left to cook slowly for around 2 hours. ๐Ÿ˜

This ragu is typically served over orecchiette pasta, which is the pasta typical of the Puglia region, just like the ragu alla Pugliese. For authentic dishes from Puglia, head over to Cucina di Puglia. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Ragu alla Bolognese

This is probably the most famous one around Italy and around the world. However, youโ€™ll probably only find the authentic Italian recipe at proper Italian restaurants. The blend of flavours in this dish is truly unique. Unlike the ragu Napoletano, ragu alla Bolognese uses ground beef (sometimes mixed with ground pork) and it does not have copious amounts of tomato sauce. ๐Ÿ…

The authentic bolognese recipe calls for ground beef, carrot, onion, celery, pancetta, white wine, beef stock, milk, tomato sauce, olive oil and some salt and pepper. The recipe starts with cooking the chopped pancetta in olive oil. After that, the vegetables are added and cooked until they are slightly softened. The meat follows, and once that is browned, the wine is added and left to cook until the alcohol evaporates. The tomato puree, the broth and the milk are added and the mixture is left to cook on low heat for a couple of hours. ๐Ÿ˜‹

Wanna guess where Bolognese originates from? Thatโ€™s right, Bologna! You can find an awesome bolognese in Malta at Papannis, Zero Sei Trattoria Romana, Sciantusi and Capricci Cafe. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Did you know that bolognese requires milk?

Ragu alla Romagnola

This ragu is closer to the bolognese ragu than the ragu Napoletano is. Ragu alla Romagnola is probably what most restaurants serve as โ€˜bologneseโ€™ since it doesnโ€™t include milk. The recipe calls for minced meat (usually a mix of pork and beef and sometimes even sausage and pancetta), onion, carrot, celery, extra virgin olive oil, wine (either white or red are used), and thick good-quality tomato sauce, preferably homemade. ๐Ÿคฉ

Itโ€™s incredibly similar to a ragu Bolognese, isnโ€™t it? Although we havenโ€™t found this name on a menu in Malta, weโ€™re pretty sure that a lot of Bolognese sauces are actually Romagnolas! ๐Ÿคท

Ragu Toscano

The ragu Toscano comes from a region in Italy called Tuscany, hence the name Toscano. This ragu calls for a mix of beef and pork mince, soffritto, red wine, tomato puree, and tomato paste for a richer ragu. ๐Ÿฒ

You can also find some recipes that include chicken livers, prosciutto, or sausage. The sauce is left to simmer for around 3 hours - can you imagine what a gorgeous, thick, rich sauce you end up with? ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Ragu d'Agnello

Ragu dโ€™Agnello is also known as lamb ragu, which means that the meat component of this sauce is not beef or pork, like the other ones, but lamb. You can find recipes that call for soffritto in a ragu dโ€™agnello and others that donโ€™t - it all depends on the region and the chef preparing the dish. ๐Ÿœ

However, the main ingredients are lamb shoulder, onion, red wine, and tomato puree (and sometimes tomato paste too). Some recipes may also use herbs for extra flavour, like bay leaves, thyme or rosemary. ๐ŸŒฟ

Which one is your favourite from the above list of ragus? Have you ever tried to make any of them at home? Share your recipes with us by tagging us in your posts using - you could be featured in our stories! ๐Ÿ˜

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