Sauce with Stuffed Meat Rolls / Ragu Beneventano
MAKES 5 TO 6 CUPS OF SAUCE
Anna Esposito says that to give this sauce it’s great flavor, you need to use at least two different kinds of meat and cook the sauce slowly to let the flavors deepen. Beef, veal and pork roasts are used in this version. The meats are removed and served as the main course, while the tomato sauce is used to dress orecchiette and tagliatelle. Leftover sauce can be frozen for later use.
- 1 beef roast, about 2 pounds , about 3/4- to 1-inch thick
- 1 veal roast, about 2 pounds , about 3/4- to 1-inch thick (Use two 1-pound roasts, if necessary.)
- 1 pork roast, about 2 pounds , about 3/4- to 1-inch thick
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 cloves finely minced garlic, or more to taste
- 1/4 pound sliced prosciutto, diced
- Kitchen string to tie roasts
- 1/4 cup Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 whole fresh peeled plum tomatoes, or one small can
- 4 to 5 cups peeled plum tomatoes, seeded and pureed
- Lay each meat roast flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the parsley, Parmesan cheese, and garlic and sprinkle it evenly over the roasts. Divide the prosciutto between the veal and pork roasts. Then roll each piece of meat up jellyroll style and tie at each end with a piece of string.
- In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Add the tied roasts and brown on all sides. Once the meat is browned, remove it from the pan to a plate and set aside.
- Add the whole fresh tomatoes to the pan and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they soften. Sauté the tomatoes for 5 or 6 minutes. Then add the pureed tomatoes and put the browned meat back into the pan. Put the cover on slightly askew, to allow steam to escape, and simmer for 2 or 3 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a small amount of water. Taste the sauce and if more salt is needed, add it now. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
- Anna says many younger Italians no longer bother to make fresh pasta at home, but their family always has fresh pasta for Sunday dinner and all the members of the next generation have learned how to make the family favorites. Her rule of thumb for quantity is an egg per person and as much flour as the egg will absorb. Her hands tell her when the consistency of the dough is just right!
- 1 3/4 to 2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
- 2 eggs
- Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the two eggs to get a soft ball of dough; add more flour if necessary. Mix a tiny bit of water with the remaining flour and combine the two balls of dough, kneading well. No salt is added, since this makes the dough more difficult to shape. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.
- Break off egg-sized pieces of dough and roll under the palms of your hands to make a rope about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough under the tip of your thumb. This will make the dough form a sort of cap over the end of your thumb. Turn the cap inside out as you remove it from your thumb and put the orecchiette on a floured towel while you form the rest of them. Let the formed orecchiette rest for about a half hour before cooking them.
- Fresh orecchiette cook very quickly. Add them to a pot of salted boiling water and check for doneness after just a couple of minutes. You want them to be al dente so they will keep their shape and capture the sauce in the curve of the pasta. Drain them well when done and put them back into the pasta pot. Ladle in tomato sauce from the pot where the meat was cooked and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately with extra grated Parmigiano cheese on the side.
- Keep the meat warm while enjoying the pasta course and then remove the strings and slice each roast into 1/2-inch pieces for serving.
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