Monday, 6 February 2012

Ragu` alla Genovese (From Genova With Love:Beef, Onions and Wine Pasta Sauce)





She sat at the dressing table... her legs too short, to even reach the floor. A little girl, she would often visit her aunt: Annina (her mum's sister) must have been very beautiful, once. An old lady (at least that is what the little girl thought she was!) she had a beautiful face: nice lips, pearly white smile and a small, almost square, but delicate chin. She truly a beauty.
 
I will never forget the tiny little window in my aunt's little kitchen, on the top floor of a palazzo which belonged to the family. Nonna lived downstairs. On the windowsill, a jug with a painted landscape (little did I know that one day I would have a house by the sea from which I could see exactly the same "panorama!")
 
On the dressing table, a snow globe: if I turned it upside down, I could make it "snow" all over Rome! How my aunt would have laughed if she could have seen Anna play non stop with the snow globe and "swimming" with her imagination inside the globe, just like a fish in a bowl: the little girl could swim all over Rome!
 
I bought an old snow globe, a few days ago. I just had to, and,  if I told you how much time I spend playing with it, to watch the snow fall, you wouldn't believe it! How wonderful, being able to "trap" people, places and time inside a plastic globe! How weird and wonderful it feels still being able to be a child...
 
 
 
 
Today, I am "trapped" inside. It's snowing! It snowed all night and the world looks beautiful and very clean. I fed my birds, in the garden, and looked at the footprints by my kitchen door: the big black cat must have walked all round the house, down the long path, climbed up the old wooden gate and then gone home to curl up by the fire...
 
As I write, I look at the old mill, out of the window, and a forest, in the distance. From downstairs, a delicious aroma makes its way and... hmmm... I can smell it right now... just the dish for a cold Winter's day, all the way from Northern Italy, and a family favourite: Ragu` alla Genovese. It smells like home and brings back memories... so many warm, cosy memories... open the gate!
 
 
 
 
Ragu` alla Genovese
(Beef Ragu` Genova Style)
 
Ingredients:
Serves 4
 
Olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but be very generous with the amount)
4 large onions
(about 500 g- just over 1lb)
500g ( just over 1lb) stewing steak (casserole beef)
2 glasses white wine
1tbsp passata
a chunk of Parmesan Cheese
salt
 
500g ( just over 1lb) pasta of your choice
( penne or rigatoni is ideal for this)
Plenty grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
 
 
 
This is a dish which originated from Genova, in Liguria, which has become a family classic. It's not a tomato based meat sauce, but a lovely golden brown, extremely delicious sauce you serve on pasta. The meat is reserved for a second course, usually eaten with a contorno (side) salad, or potatoes (square potato pieces baked with olive oil, garlic and rosemary) or just some delicious bread! In Italy, salad is always served after pasta, as a side dish. Never, ever before!
 
Before you start, peel your onions and chop very finely (in a food processor, if you have one, or using a knife)
 
 
 
 
Next, heat the oil in a saucepan (the amount is up to you, but remember that the meat will cook in oil and wine, so, be generous, as you are cooking a lot of onion plus meat,) Now you can add your onions and your chunk of cheese.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Cook until the onions begin to turn golden. Add your meat (in biggish pieces) and stir until it has browned. You can now turn the heat right up and add your wine, stir till it blends in with the onions and the meat, and then you small amount of passata.
 
 
 
 
 
All you have to do now is add salt, stir, turn the heat down and wait till the meat is cooked and the sauce has turned a gorgeous creamy golden brown colour. If you think your onions might be sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a small amount of water. The might might take over three hours to cook, on a low heat.
 
We serve the sauce on pasta, first, with a generous sprinkling of cheese, and the meat next, on a separate plate, with salad, or potatoes, or any other vegetable we fancy!
 
 
Delicious! You won't know HOW DELICIOUS until you try!
 
 

37 comments:

  1. you are invited to follow my blog

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    1. Thank you very much for visiting my blog! Hope you like Italian food.

      ANNA

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  2. My first love is Jesus…then my wife of 45 years…then cooking. I really enjoyed looking over your blog. I am now a follower of yours. Feel free to look over my blog and become a follower of my blog also.

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    1. My first love is life with all that it brings, as, if we weren't alive we wouldn't even be able to be spiritual(there are good things and bad things, in life, that we sometimes have to accept or work on.)

      It's lovely to know that you have been married for 45 years! I remember my dad saying "I just want to get to my gold wedding anniversary... then I can die!" I never made it, but... he taught me all I know about love!

      Thank you for joining my blog!I hope my blog can help you enjoy the third thing you love most in life!

      ANNA

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  3. Delightful story of childhood memories Anna. I would love to open the gate and come in and enjoy a bowl of your Ragu` alla Genovese - looks delicious.

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    1. Lovely to see you here, Rosemary. I'm glad you noticed my beautiful gate. I do wish I could share my food with some of you blogging friends (if you could stand being near a Primadonna-that's me!)

      I am enjoying your lovely blog enormously, Rosemary! Good work!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  4. Hello dear Anna

    I felt like I was visiting Aunt Annina with you. Such a warm welcoming home. You had a privileged childhood surrounded by such loving family. Your recipe sounds delicioso and I will make it when we get a cooler spell here in sunny and tropial Florida.

    Thank you for a delightful post and wishing you a week full of fun

    Ciao

    Helen xx

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    1. Dear Helen,

      My aunt's home was welcoming, and she was lovely and very quiet, maybe because she was almost blind, poor thing. That's why she couldn't see me, when I was playing with the snow globe.

      My recipe is a MOST delicious one, and one to try... should you ever get a cooler spell in Florida (fat chance of that!)

      A good week to you, too...

      Hugs

      ANNA

      xx

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  5. Anna! Thank you so very much for all your comments you made! I have not had time to visit your blog nor have I had time to visit the other ones! I am working a lot and because I have had my 50th birthday many people come round to congratulate me. At the moment I am waiting for a friend who announced her visit for 4 pm but she is late which gives me a moment to sit at the computer. On top of it I am knitting for a friend and whenever there is a spare minute that is what I am doing. Tomorrow afternoon I am off to my mums and and and and... I hope you are not angry. From next week on I hope to have more time again. Hope you are well. Here it is terribly cold but also very nice. By the way: Your recipe looks delicious!!! Ciao Anna! XXX Christa

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    1. Hello Christa! It seems like you are having never ending birthday celebrations! How lovely! That is how it should be!

      I am quite well, Christa... quite well... do enjoy being with your mother (precious moments for the both of you) and post when you can.

      Glad you like my recipe... you should try it, but it's one which long cooking times.

      I went to Norwich City Centre, today. The new Jamie's Italian (restaurant) will be opening in the next few weeks, where a fantastic old fashioned bookstore used to be. It's quite exciting. I will go to the opening, in case the lovely Jamie turns up. I love him because he says he biggest ambition would be to be Italian! SO... SOOOO>>> SWEEEEET!

      BUONA SERATA

      ANNA

      xx

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  6. Wow Anna, Another mouth watering recipe and such incredibly sweet memories. I am looking forward to trying this. Thank you for visiting my furry boys too, they send you sweet little cat kisses, especially sweet since they had their teeth cleaned.! xx

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    1. ... and I really do hope you try it! It's really, really delicious!

      Your furry boys are truly magnificent and cute, like all cats, therefore I'm very happy to accept their sweet little feline kisses. I smell toothpaste! Wow! shiny white teeth! Beautiful!

      I'm going to bed, now...

      CIAO

      ANNA

      xx

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  7. Wonderful story, Anna. Thanks for sharing it with us. This dish looks amazing!!! I wish I could jump into my computer and take a taste. Will definitly have to try it.

    Danielle xo

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    1. Hi Danielle!

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading my little "memoria." I enjoy going back to the time when I was growing up in Italy and sharing my feelings. It also helps you understand life in my country, too, and the way we are. Food and social history go hand in hand, I feel... and I really LOVE wtiting about my childhood! It's a way for me to bring it all back to life, every now and then.

      Good night

      ANNA
      xx

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  8. Your memories are so sweet!
    I'm feeling touched.

    And the Genovian meal - a winterdream!

    ♥ Franka

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    1. Thank you, Franka... I love sharing my childhood memories with you all. You are very sweet... THANK YOU!

      ANNA
      x

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  9. Dear Anna,As with all your recipes, that looks scrummy! And perfect for a cold day. We still have no snow here, I have a bit of a yearning to be snowed in, just for a couple of days...I do so love the look of the world when first white and fluffy! Take care and keep warm- Jane xx

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  10. Dear Jane, thank you for coming to say hello. Yes, my recipe is perfect for a cold day, and extremely delicious, not to mention how it smells (really... the aroma is incredible!)

    We still have some snow on the ground, here. Everybody says it's very cold, but I don't really feel it very much, so I'm lucky!

    Be patient, Jane and the snow might come. I can't wait to see the back of it! I keep feeding the birds, outside. I feel sorry for them, but... there are so many around! Sounds like Springtime!

    Have a good evening

    HUGS

    ANNA

    xx

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  11. Yummie, Anna! I know Ragu alla Genovese! You have described it so nicely - I must try your recipe! Tomorrow I'll do it and send you the "proof"! I'll be the queen for my sons... and Paul... but especially my sons! They love eating and they appreciate the way I cook. Lately they have started to create dishes themselves and that is so fantastic! I was at my mum's today. It was very nice but she is getting old (82) and she appeared a kind of sad as her best friend is about to die. This made me sad as well. On top of it I found a mistake on my knitting and I have to start all over again... I hope you are enjoying the snow it sounds so very cozy! Night, night Anna! xxx Christa

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  12. Dear Christa... try thr recipe and remember it needs to cook for a very long time, till the meat is tender and the sauce almost brown. If it looks a bit dry, add water, but remember the final product should be quite dry (add some of your pasta water if you think it's dry!)

    Sorry to hear about your mum's friend. I remember that when my uncle was sick, my mother wouldn't leave his side (he was the brother who brought her up, as her dad died shen she was a baby.)She never really got over the loss, as, to her, he was the father she never had. My grandmother brought up a family of 6 children single handedly and did an excellent job of it.

    Don't worry about your knitting... you love it, really, when you drop a stitch and have to undoit all and start all over again! Can we see the masterpiece, when it's finished, Christa? Will you give birth to it, like a baby? It sounds like you are going through labour! I feel like already know "it!" whatever it is that you are knitting! What are you knitting, a scarf for the Big Friendly Giant?

    BIG HUGS... lovely Christa!

    ANNA

    xxx

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    1. Oh Anna! YOu are definitely very generous! I have just reread the recipe and will start with the cooking in a couple of hours. I hope I bough the right meat. I never know what all the pieces in English are called in German. I have even looked it up in Wikipedia but it did not help. I should have asked you... Well now I bought a small brasato and hope it will work as well. I just noticed that I might have not enough wine. The bottle is too small especially when the cook (that's me!) likes to taste a glass as well... I have started with the knitting all over again. I am knitting a round scarf and I used circle needles and somehow it all got twisted. I only noticed about 10 cm before the end... silly me! Now I am knitting it with two needles and will sew it together in the end. Yes, Anna it is labour but you know what? Labour is great! There has never been a more magic thing in my life than giving birth to my boys. You see I feel great at the moment... hehehe... have a nice day, dear Anna! I'll send you the pics of the ragu and the baby! Promised!

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  13. Hello Anna, it smells delicious over here! I am on my way, and coming through your lovely snowy gate! The Ragu looks amazing...mmmmmm. I love snow globes too, and snow falling, it makes everwhere so still and peaceful and pretty.

    Many thanks for your lovely comments, I will bring you some biscuits.Thankyou for your kind words about my home, it is very important to me that is a comfortable, warm, and calm refuge for my family. I am very afraid though, that if I don't post about my makes I will have a very fierce Italian coming after me!

    Keep warm and cosy and keep making that yummy food. Love Linda x

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  14. What a lovely story Anna. I love the way you are combining your stories with your recipes and this is certainly one for the bitterly cold weather we are still experiencing here. I would love to review your book for you when you publish it one day. :)

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  15. Lindy, I will try ever so hard with the book (I haven't as yet) and I think I should combine the stories with the recipies, as I am doing, because this is what would make my book unique. And I would like you to be the first person to review it!

    Grazie, Lindy! Will be going to Rome, in the Lazio region, where you live, next month!

    BUONA NOTTE

    ANNA
    xx

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  16. Looks really delicious!!!!! Love your story also and the winter photos! Have a really beautiful weekend!

    Kristin♥

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  17. Thank you very much, Kirstin! I hope it's not snowing too much were you are!

    A fantastic weekend to you, too!

    ANNA
    x

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  18. Yes, Anna I knitted it! Hehehe... I did a good job, didn't I and no I did not drop any stitches!!! Thank you for your humorous comment! Have a look at my blog tomorrow! The proof (!) will appear! Ciao - have a beautiful evening! Christa

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  19. Dear Christa! I knew you would get my (extremely not funny) sense of humour! You must be a champion knitter, to be able to produce such a beautiful pot plant!

    I will look at your blog, tomorrow, hoping to see the "evidence. " Remember the meat needs to cook slowly for a very long time and don't let it stick to the bottom of the pan! HAPPY COOKING!

    You are very very SIMPATICA, Christa!

    Abbracci

    ANNNA
    xx

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    1. DID I SPELL MY NAME WITH THREE NNNN? See what you make me do, Christa?

      ANNA
      x

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  20. Hello Anna,
    This dish makes me feel hungry.. it looks and sounds divine..
    What a lovely story about your crystal glass and the snow.. and how it brought back memories of your aunt Annina..
    As always Anna..such a lovely blog..

    I miss you on my followers..
    hope you pass by..
    send best wishes..for a lovely weekend Anna..

    Ciao..
    val

    http://valerietilsten59.blogspot.com/
    val's alentejo.. (all the others i am not using.. i need to get them deleted)..

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  21. Hi Val!

    I am one of your followers, but I don't seem to be able to post on your blog (have you tried checking the SPAM folder? My comments are probably there and you can click on "This is not SPAM" and they will appear on the blog!

    BTW, Christa has the same problem (can't even find your blog)Emails come back, too. What have you done?

    I'll try the new http, but I think I've already done that with no result.

    Kepp reading my blog. I love your lovely comments, Val!

    I always pass by, Val, snd comment. I'll try again today!

    BUON SABATO!

    ANNA

    xxx

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  22. I love the way you "tell" us your recipes, so many lovely memories among the ingredients!
    Ciao Anna!!!!

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  23. Cara Michela,

    I was thinking about you today "Where is she?" and... here you are! Long time, no see! As they say...

    Grazie per i cari complimenti, Michela! I love mixing memories and ingredients, it makes for a good end product!

    How's the weather up there? For once, I'm glad I'm not in Italy!

    Fatti sentire ancora.

    ABBRACCI E BUONA SETTIMANA!

    ANNA

    XXX

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  24. Good morning Anna! Mille grazie for your wishes on Valentine's day! Me too I wish you happy Valentine! How interesting to hear that you are a big fan of John Lennon! I remember very well that morning when we heard the sad news of his death (is it really 30 years ago???) My boys are great Beatles fan. When we were in London first thing we did was walking on Abbey Road... I am glad you like that little surprise and wish you a joyful Tuesday. I am off work today but lots to do... at the moment a bread is already baking in the oven and that is warm and cozy. Ciao carissima! Christa

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  25. Hi Christa! Yes, I love John Lennon... he does something to me and makes me cry and cry. I can't watch the video of him fooling round Central Park whilst singing Mind Games... I can't cope with it... I just cry... can't help it!

    When I see him with Yoko I am so moved by so much love... just talking about it, I feel very emotional.

    Funny you should mention baking bread! John Lennon used to make and bake his own bread at the Dakota House apartment, whilst looking after his baby Shawn. THAT'S LOVE!

    HUGS

    ANNA

    xx

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  26. Hehehe, Anna! Such a wonderful comment on my today's post! Thanks for your award! I am dedicated, aren't I? You are absolutely right about the spelling in English. BUT in German the plural of lady is ladys! Isn't that funny? I have learnt that in November when I attended a course in German orthography. I tell you not everything is logical... Have a wonderful weekend, Anna! I love you, you are filled with so much humor! Ciao! Christa

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  27. I love you, too, Christa! You are just really, really lovely (and you understand my sense of humor!)

    Enjoy your walk, today! I really envy you! You lucky thing!

    HUGS

    ANNA

    xx

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