A number of years ago I checked out of the library the book In Tuscany, a cookbook, photo journal by Frances Mayes. I checked it out again...and again...and again. We moved, and I checked it out of the library in our new town...twice. Why, you ask? For the Ragu recipe! The dish instantly found it's way to the top ten list of favorite family foods (even GDG ate it).
FINALLY, I checked out the book one more time and actually took the time to write down the recipe. I place it here on my blog as a Madison House Chef recommendation and as a permanent home ... yes, so that I don't have to check the book out of the library again. LOL
The key to this Ragu is letting it cook low and slow -- this last batch cooked for 3.5 hours on day 1 and another 3 hours on day 2. Granted, that's longer than the recipe itself calls for, but I find that this Ragu mellows and its flavors meld beautifully over two periods of cooking.
from In Tuscany
Odori* (see below)
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
4 or 5 italian sausages (about 1 lb -- I remove the casings)
salt, pepper & thyme to taste
1 to 2 C white wine (Pinot Grisio)
2 T tomato paste
2 Quarts (2l) tomato puree
Prepare Odori in a 4 qt. heavy pan with lid.
After Odori is golden, add the ground beef, pork and sausage. Saute until browned.
Add salt, pepper, thyme and wine and simmer until wine has nearly evaporated. After the wine has evaporated, add tomato paste and tomato puree.
Cover and simmer over low "flame" (2 on electric) for 3 hours. Stir now and then. Add water as the ragu cooks down if necessary.
This recipe is EASILY doubled and in fact the last batch I made was tripled. It freezes beautifully. This ragu is terrific for pasta, or even for lasagna. When using it for lasagna, I thin it a bit with more tomato puree' or homemade marinara when I have it on hand.
*Odori (traditional) = 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 2 cloves of garlic, and a handful of parsley. Saute' in 2 T olive oil until golden. Odori also becomes quite personal when the amount of garlic is varied or if a little butter is added to the saute. I tend to use almost twice as much garlic.
The librarian misses me.