Ragù is a generic term for a slow-cooked meat sauce usually with tomatoes. This is the famous meat sauce of Emilia Romagna (of which Bologna is the capital). Practically everyone from this region makes their own version with subtle changes from one generation to another. My family is from Emilia Romagna and we are no exception. I learned to make the sauce from my mother,
Its classic pairing is with homemade tagliatelle or pappardelle, and I would be hard pressed to think of a more satisfying dish. It is also very good with rigatoni, shells, or any substantial pasta shape, preferably one with ridges, that has nooks and cavities to trap the sauce. When tossing with pasta, add a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a tablespoon of butter.
You can prepare the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months.
© 2005 Giuliano Hazan. All rights reserved.