easy mains pasta recipes that noodle life

The best bolognese for weeknights: pappardelle with ragu di prosciutto

How to make homemade pappardelle, easily the best pasta to make if you’ve never made fresh pasta from scratch before
Posted December 3, 2019 by Mike
This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away.

It might seem crazy to suggest doing fresh pasta and from scratch ragu bolognese on a weeknight, but it’s really meditative, not very time consuming, and low labor. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens, and all the stress from the long day will just fall away.

This is a classic style ragu from Emilia Romagna, not quite what we think of as either the usual American style of bolognese sauce or proper Italian/Bologna style ragu bolognese with livers and cream. It’s the simple-yet-amazing combination of prosciutto, pork, and fresh mozzarella which really makes this sauce special. It’s easier, with fewer ingredients, and tastes closer to what you’d get in the countryside than the typical version you’ll find in the city of Bologna, but far better than the tomato-ey version you find at chain restaurants in America. And because of its simplicity, it’s the perfect sauce to highlight this homemade pappardelle recipe. Together they are the perfect combination of crazy good and super easy.

This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com

Pappardelle isn’t the most common pasta shape, but it’s one of my favorites. Super wide, truly chewy, I think of it as maybe the best representation of pasta you can make at home. There are no ridges to hide in or heavy sauce ratios to drown in, so the noodle has to taste good. It’s not as easy to find as its more popular cousin tagliatelle, but truthfully and unlike a lot of other pastas, the best pappardelle is homemade. Once you’ve had a great pappardelle, you may find other pasta shapes pale in comparison.

This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com

The first time we made homemade pasta, it seemed complicated and mystical, but once you’ve tried it a few times, it becomes second nature and you realize you don’t need special skills, flour, or pasta machines to make some awesome homemade pasta. Just a little patience while the dough rests is enough.

Our method for making pappardelle is simple and we’ve refined it throughout the years to hit just the right notes. It’s eggier – one extra yolk per portion – and thinner and wider than your standard pappardelle. We go to setting #5 on a standard Marcato Atlas roller (it should be the same on any pasta machine though) and each sheet of pasta is cut only into 4 noodles. This leaves you with really pretty, wonderful tasting, extra wide pappardelle that handily beats any store bought brand you can find.

The ragu was inspired by a short trip to NYC that Steph and I took a couple of weeks ago. We went to a wonderful little neighborhood pasta joint specializing in Emilia Romagna dishes called Rezdora, a few blocks north of Union Square. We ordered almost every pasta on the menu and kind of made ourselves a seven course pasta tour of Emilia Romagna, and it was a glorious, gluttonous affair.

This restaurant seems like a surefire candidate for a michelin star next year. The waiter was amazing, the Parmigiano Reggiano was plentiful, and the pastas were all crazy good, with fun names like “Grandma walking through the woods looking for shrooms” (I wrote that without looking back at the menu so it may not be 100% accurate).

Rezdora NYC | www.iamafoodblog.com

Amongst all the various anolini, ragus of rabbit, and spinach-fied pastas, there was a common theme: a backbone ragu that was made up of beef, pork, prosciutto, and mozzarella. As soon as we got home, we tried recreating it and were knocked off our socks at how great this simple little sauce was. In this version we left out the beef to keep it simple, but if you like to amp things up a notch, sub half of the pork with ground beef or veal for a more authentic ragu.

I hope you try both the homemade pappardelle and the ragu, but even if it’s with store bought dried pappardelle (Garofalo is an excellent and easy to find brand), the ragu is easier than it has any right to be and totally worth making. If you end up getting addicted to making pappardelle, check out this awesome site that’s like the Bon Appetit of Italian food called La Cucina Italiana. Their seafood pappardelle recipe is out of this world, check it out here.

#thatnoodlelife
Mike

This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com

This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away.

Weeknight Ragu di Prosciutto

The best weeknight version of Bolognese you'll ever find
Serves 4
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 portions fresh pasta sub dried pappardelle
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small carrot chopped
  • 1 tbsp sage chopped
  • 2 oz prosciutto chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup dry white wine preferably Italian
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock no sodium preferred
  • 8 balls mini bocconcini or other fresh mozzarella

Instructions

  • If you are using fresh pasta, follow the instructions until it is time to rest the pasta (see note).
  • In a large pot, heat up the oil over low heat. Add the onion, carrot, sage, and prosciutto. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-15 min. The goal is a low slow simmered soffritto. Longer is better, but not necessary.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bring the heat up to medium high and add the pork, breaking up into pieces. Cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the pan. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the tomato paste and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and simmer, covered, on low for 1 hour. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • On a back burner, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer in preparation to cook your pasta. Roll your pasta out to setting #5 (2mm), then slice lengthwise into 4 strips.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Just before the ragu is done, cook the pasta until it just floats (about 2 minutes) or according to package instructions, then drain without rinsing and set aside.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the bocconcini balls, then add the pasta in and gently toss with a pair of silicone coated tongs until pasta is coated. Serve with extra chopped sage and grated parmigiano reggiano.
    This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away. #bolognese #pasta #weeknightitalian #easyrecipes | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

To make fresh pasta, follow the instructions on this page. (page coming soon)
This post is sponsored by La Cucina Italiana. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting I am a Food Blog and helping us keep the lights on

2 Comments

  1. Giuseppe says:

    In Italy we call PROSCIUTTO in USA ……..PROSCUITTO….

  2. Robert Jacobs says:

    The Ragu modenese at rezdora does not have mozzarella in it. It has prosciutto…mortadella…ground pork…no beef…a little tomato sauce is added as the dish is picked up..not sure if this is the ragu the writer is referring to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This easy ragu bolognese is perfect for weeknights. Your house will smell like the best Italian kitchens as all the stress from the day just falls away.