Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Homemade Rigatoni with Bolognese Ragu

Having received a very handsome Kitchen Aid Pasta Extruder for Christmas this year from my husband, we set out to try it out for our New Years Eve dinner. An extraordinary machine, the attachment comes with six attachment for making otherwise impossible shapes of pasta, including spaghetti, bucatini, rigatoni, fusilli, large macaroni or small macaroni. Our first experiment was rigatoni. Using Pino Posterior's fabulous pasta recipe from his cookbook 'Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill: A Lifetime of Excellence in the Kitchen', we set out to make our first  batch of homemade rigatoni. It could not have been easier. The next step was preparing a delicious sauce to accompany our little golden wonders. My husband loves Mario Batali's classic Ragù Bolognese, one the most common recipes in the cucina of Emilia-Romagna. Mario learned the recipe in his cookbook 'Molto Mario' from Mara Giacometti, the chef at La Volta, who was born twenty-five minutes south of Bologna, and considers her Ragu to be "just perfect".

The walnut-size balls of dough are fed through the hopper of a Kitchen Aid Pasta Extruder

The built-in wire cutter customizes the length of the noodles

Perfect homemade rigatoni is made in minutes

Diced celery, carrot, onion and garlic

1-pound each of ground pork and veal

1/4-pound diced pancetta

The ragu simmering for 1-2 hours or more if you have the time

Rigatoni with Bolognese Ragu
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from Mario Batali and Pino Posteraro

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 carrot, finely, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 lb veal, ground
1 lb pork, ground
1/4 lb pancetta, finely diced
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
1 bunch fresh thyme, for garnish

1 lb Tipo '00' flour
5 whole large eggs
2 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp olive oil

On a clean dry surface, mound the flour and make a well in the centre. In a bowl beat the eggs, yolks, salt and olive oil, then pour the mixture into the well. Using a fork or your hands, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture, and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated, then knead until the dough is smooth, about 4-6 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Roll the dough into small balls the size of a walnut. Using a Kitchenaid Pasta Press attachment with 6 interchangeable pasta plates, position the rigatoni plate and attach the press onto the power hub of any KitchenAid stand mixer. Feed the walnut size balls of dough through the hopper and use the built-in wire cutter to customize the length of the noodles. Have a large floured baking tray ready and place the rigatoni onto it to dry. Repeat the process for the remaining pasta dough, and allow to dry for at least an hour.

In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the veal, pork, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned. Add the tomato paste, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.

When ready to use, the cooked pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of hot ragu Bolognese, and tosses so that the pasta is evenly coated by the ragu. Serve with a bowl of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a sprig or two of fresh thyme.

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