Friday, June 28, 2024

Ragu Napoletana Sunday Sauce Gravy Recipe Eva alla






alla EVA


"It's a Religion"

A great quote by Eva, on making Ragu (Sunday Sauce).




Ragù in Naples is religion. A preparation that takes a very long time and requires considerable attention: it is not enough to cook meat and sauce for a long time. It takes seven or eight hours for this Sunday lunch dressing, so much so that the most shrewd recipes recommend leaving on Saturday: in fact, although in Naples you have a late lunch, and on Sunday even more, you should wake up before dawn to be ready just in time. In addition, the next day the sauce, as happens with many traditional preparations, condenses and settles, becoming even richer and full of nuances.

Eduardo De Filippo's memorable comedy, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, revolves around a meat sauce, and in the most realistic stagings the initial sauté is really prepared, spreading an incredible smell from the stage to the whole theater. Eduardo himself dedicated a short and beautiful poem to the ragù. The most evident peculiarity of the Neapolitan ragù is that, unlike the Bolognese sauce, the meat is not minced but comes in whole pieces: hence both the need to cook longer, and the possibility of having a complete meal, sauce to season the pasta and meat for the main course. The long preparation makes this recipe perfect for when we have a lot of time to spend at home: let's give it a try.

Meat and other ingredients of Neapolitan Ragù

What is the right meat to make ragù? Here there are as many versions as there are families in Naples and its surroundings. The general agreement is that a mixture of types is needed, certainly beef, but going into the specifics here are the differences: there are those who mix beef and pork and those who consider pork out of place; there are those who put sausages and those who even put meatballs in it; There are those who make a rind roll and those who add the further complication of the chop. Which is not grilled meat but the way it is called a particular wrap made with the locena (under the shoulder), stuffed with salt, pepper, raisins, pine nuts, chopped garlic and parsley, diced pecorino cheese.

Let's take an average between the most fundamentalist traditions and a availability within anyone's reach, and let's get the following cuts: a first choice of beef such as colarda (culata) or pezza a cinnamon (shoulder), a second choice such as lacerto (girello or magatello), a cut of pork such as tracchie or tracchiulelle (trimmings). Another key ingredient is tomato paste. Finally, the ideal would be to cook the Neapolitan-style ragù in the cuoccio, which is a terracotta pot. 

The preparation of Neapolitan ragù

Sauté the onion in extra virgin olive oil, very gently. Add the meat and brown it well on all sides, always over low heat. Let it evaporate with the wine, strictly red: this operation should be carried out several times, not in one fell swoop. Then add the tomato paste a little at a time, making sure that it darkens but does not burn. During these operations, the meat will have to be turned over several times, so it is not the time to move away and lose sight of the sauce. Finally, add the tomato puree, possibly with half a glass of water, no more, and raising the heat gently, and for no more than a few minutes, just to rebalance the insertion of cold ingredients.

At this point, and at least two hours will have passed, the ragù must pippiare: this is the secret of the Neapolitan ragù, an effect that does not correspond precisely to the Italian simmering, and which consists of a slow evaporation, which produces an almost imperceptible noise and a movement bordering on the invisible on the surface of the sauce. To obtain it, it must not be covered - otherwise all the steam would condense and fall back into the sauce, watering it down - nor leave uncovered, at the risk of not being able to keep the temperature stable: place the lid slightly offset on one side, and held up on the other side with the inevitable wooden spoon.

This very thick and dark sauce is perfect for seasoning a large pasta such as paccheri, but its traditional accompaniment is smooth zite broken by hand. Welcome to Naples.

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