That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buon Appetito - Home Made Ragù

Who doesn't like pasta?

Back in California, a plate of spaghetti meant one of three things to my family: Ragu, Prego or Four Brothers. My Korean parents had no other choice but to trust in their American daughter's culinary judgement of what made for good pasta. "This is Italian food," I would say, breaking the jar's safety seal with a flick of my wrist. pop! The noodles, in boiling water for over ten minutes, are nearly done. In fact, they're more than likely overcooked, but I don't know any better and, therefore, neither do my parents. Nor do any of my four younger siblings since the only comparison to Italian cuisine they have is found in the school cafeteria or ... Denny's. We open a package of ready to heat garlic bread, cut it into slices and put those under the broiler for 5-7 minutes. We drain the pasta, add sauce, pile on the Kraft Parmesan Cheese and voila! A real, authentic Italian meal is served. Well, my parents would always forgo the cheese preferring a side of kimchee instead. Still, Italian spaghetti, nonetheless. Mr. Dad would boast about the culinary talents of his 둘째 딸 (second born daughter). The pasta he ate in Sicily, Naples and Venice during his travels as a commercial fisherman could hardly compare to this fine meal before him, now ^__^

When I first came to Italy, I was shocked to learn that in order to make a plate of spaghetti, I would need to use actual, real, live tomatoes for the sauce, or at least, canned tomatoes. Where were the jars aplenty of meat sauce, cheese sauce, herbed sauce, Alfredo sauce ... ? Was this not Italy, home of all things Barilla? -confused- Eventually, I did find one or two brands and today, there are quite a few to choose from (but not nearly as many as in the US). The only problem is, Mr. Marito claims he can taste the preservatives. Preservatives. mmmmm preservatives

So, here is a preservative-free ragù (meat sauce) I learned to make with the help of my late mother-in-law. 
Dedicated to all the Mrs. Moglies out there with a Mr. Marito of their own.

You'll need:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • garlic, crushed and minced (1-2 cloves or more depending on taste)
  • 1 each of carrot, onion and celery stalk, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs ground meat (mostly beef, some pork, very little chicken OR beef & pork OR only beef)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 T sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • tomato paste
  • 2-3 cans diced tomatoes (NOT cherry tomatoes

  1.  Add a little olive oil and butter to a hot pan and swirl until it's well coated
  2. Add garlic and brown over medium low heat
  3. Add chopped vegetables and stir occasionally until soft (about 5 minutes)
  1. Add meat and brown
  2. Add salt
  3. Add sugar
  4. Add wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates (about 2 minutes)
  5. Add tomato paste and mix thoroughly 
  6. Add canned tomatoes
  7. Cover and simmer over low heat, stir occasionally

Just before turning off the heat, add a Tablespoon of olive oil and stir well.

The best tasting ragù is one that has simmered, covered over a very low flame for a few hours. BUT it's still quite delicious after only 20 minutes.

serve with fresh parmesan cheese TA - DA !!                                                     
* I don't normally serve it like this *
Usually, I add undercooked pasta to a pan with a small amount of sauce
and mix over a low flame, adding more sauce as needed.
It's ready when the pasta is cooked to your liking ^__^  

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