This is an impressive dish of fresh wide ribbons of pasta tossed with an authentic meaty sauce from Michela Chiappa on Simply Italian
Michela Chiappa: "The real secret to this dish is simmering for 3 hours. It changes the taste as the meat is soft and tender and no tinned tomatoes are needed!"
For the papardelle
Making the sauce
Put a large pan on a medium heat. Once hot add the smoked pancetta and fry for 2-3 minutes on a low heat, or until starting to crisp up. Then add the red onion, carrot and celery. Stir together and sweat for roughly 10 minutes with lid on, or until soft and translucent.
Next add your beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until the beef has browned. Add a good swig of red wine and keep stirring. The aim is to burn off the alcohol leaving just a hint of the lovely wine flavour. Add the tomato purée and stir into the sauce, then add 500ml of boiling water from the kettle and crumble in the beef stock cubes and the bay leaves. Put the lid on and simmer for 3 hours to let the flavours intensify and the beef break down.
Making the pasta
While your sauce is simmering, you can make your pasta. Place the flour on a board or in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs in the well, add a pinch of salt then with a fork, mix the egg into the flour as much as possible so it’s not sticky. Don’t worry if there are lumps in the dough. Keep mixing and then when crumbs form put it on a flat surface and knead together. Once it is all combined, knead the dough until you have a silky smooth elastic dough. You are aiming to achieve a playdough-like texture. If your dough is crumbly (too dry) add a teaspoon of olive oil. If the dough is sticks to your hands (too wet) add a little extra flour. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes.
Take tennis ball-sized amounts of the dough squash it flat with your fingers (remember to keep the rest of your dough covered with the cling film so it doesn’t go dry and crusty). Place on a floured work surface and using a rolling pin roll into a rough square sheet of pasta which is about 2 playing cards thick.
If you are using a pasta roller, take your flattened tennis ball-sized piece of dough and push it through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Fold into thirds, then repeat 3 times. Once you have a rough square shape, start working it through the machine, taking it down one setting at a time, until the thinnest setting. If your pasta is too sticky, it won’t go through smoothly, so add a little flour to each side before you put it through the roller. Then roll it through the setting for tagliatelle or thin linguine.
Once your dough is the right thickness carefully some flour over both sides of the pasta sheet and fold it into three. Take a sharp knife and cut strips into 1 inch wide strips and unravel it to reveal the beautiful pappardelle.
Sprinkle a large tray with a good pinch of polenta to stop the pasta sticking and place the pappardelle in a single layer on the tray. If possible leave to air-dry for 15-20 minutes before cooking. Alternatively, you can hang your strips of pasta on clean coat hangers or a clothes horse. The important thing is to keep the individual strands from sticking to each other.
To serve the dish
When ready to cook the pasta, place a large casserole dish on the heat and fill with boiling water and a generous pinch of salt. Cook the pasta for approximately 2 minutes (although this will depend on the thickness of your pasta). Always taste it and you want it soft but ‘al dente,’ which means the pasta will have a subtle bite to it. It should not turn to mush as this is overcooked.
To serve place the pasta in a pan with the hot sauce. You should only use 1-2 tablespoons of sauce per portion – don’t overload the sauce; the pasta should not be swimming in bolognaise! Mix the pasta and sauce on the heat so that the sauce coats the pasta. Add a splash of pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce and finish with a grating of parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately to avoid the pasta overcooking!
You can use dried pasta with this sauce if you don’t have time to make fresh pasta. Simply use about 1kg of pasta for 8-10 people. This recipe works brilliantly with tagliatelle. Avoid using spaghetti as a wider pasta holds the sauce better
This recipe is fantastic to make in a large batch and then freeze in individual portions – it takes time to make a really tasty ragu so it’s worth making lots so you can enjoy after a hard day’s work! Heat the sauce from frozen.
Always taste as you go for seasoning – we love lots of parmesan as this avoids having to use too much salt. But before you mix your pasta into your sauce, check it for salt, pepper and parmesan.
We eat big portions of pasta in my family and I tend to cook 100-150g of pasta per person. However, if you like smaller portions and have lots of parpadelle left over, leave them to air-dry for 1-2 days until completely dry. Then you can store them in a jar for several months
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