This delicious recipe has completely transformed how my family eat the humble ragù. It’s all about using a familiar everyday meal to introduce exciting new flavours. Cinnamon marries the richness of meat and tomato sauce perfectly. It’s subtle, aromatic and not overpowering. I’ve adapted this recipe after interviewing a young chef originally from Rome who now works in a remote hillside restaurant in Sicily. He takes cooking for his young family very seriously. Aside from the fact he’s almost evangelical about cooking proper grown up grub for kids, he claims his wife is a hopeless cook. Of course she wasn’t there to defend this slur on her culinary expertise when we met. But given his passionate approach to feeding their child she may well have forgiven him this slander.
The key to this ragù is in the preparation of the meat before you cook it. I’ve found that it’s almost easier to prepare the night before and leave in the fridge so the flavours properly infuse. Then you’re ready to hit the ground running when cooking the next day. I know I usually adapt most recipes on my blog so they’re super quick, but I’m sorry to break it to you that I really can’t do the same with this one. I’ve done a taste test after 30 minutes cooking, after an hour and after 2 hours. And there’s no doubt. It really is a case of the longer the better. But it’s no hassle I promise. Just leave it cooking over low heat and get on with other stuff around the house. This ragù will simmer away quietly for hours needing absolutely zero attention. How many members of your family can you say that about?
Preparation time – 10 mins
Cooking time – Ideally 1- 2 hours.
400g mince (veal, pork, beef)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/4 glass wine or mulled wine
1 large carrot grated
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
sprig of rosemary
1. Put mince, cinnamon, red wine, cloves, rosemary and a little ground black pepper in a bowl together. Then massage with hands until wine absorbed, and cinnamon evenly distributed. Pat into a neat ball, cover and pop into the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Best overnight.
2. Take a deep saucepan. Heat olive oil over medium/high heat and add chopped onions. Cook until translucent then add the marinated mince. Brown the meat for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid has nearly cooked off. Look out for the cloves and rosemary sprig whilst cooking and remove them from the pan.
3. Add tomatoes and grated carrots (carrots are brilliant as they neutralise any acidity in tomatoes and add a lovely sweetness). Continue cooking on medium high heat for another 10 minutes. Then turn down to a low simmer, cover the pan and leave for as long as possible (ideally 2 hours) with the occasional stir for good measure.