Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni. – The Pasta Project

Must Try

This traditional pasta recipe from Piemonte (Piedmont) in Northern Italy pairs a simple veal ragu with a rare type of homemade macaroni known as macron del frèt. Of course, you can also serve the delicate and delicious veal ragu with other pasta types.

Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni from Piemonte.

The veal and beef in Piemonte.

The Northwestern Italian region of Piemonte (Piedmont) is famous for several foods including white truffles, hazelnuts (home to Nutella and Ferrero Rocher), fresh pasta like tajarin and agnolotti and panna cotta!

It’s also very well known for its beef and veal. They even have a local breed of cattle known as ‘Razza Piemontese’ (Piedmontese cattle).

Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni sprinkled with grated Parmigiano cheese and fresh parsley.

This cattle breed is highly valued for the low fat and high protein content of its meat. They say that Piemontese beef has 20% less calories than salmon but 10% more protein. It also has much less cholesterol than other prime beef.

As you may imagine, beef and veal are popular meats in the region. The locals call the meat from Piemontese beef, fassona. If you are ever in the region, you will come across a lot of dishes with fassona.

Among the most well-known that you can find in restaurants and homes are vitello tonnato, veal pot roast, veal stew, a type of veal tartare (known as battuta) and, of course, veal ragu.

Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni sprinkled with grated Parmigiano cheese.

Why use veal instead of beef or other meats?

Veal is a popular choice for ragu in Piemonte. But, not only because of the high quality of the meat there. Veal ragu takes less time to cook than ragu with other meats or a mixture of meats.

In addition, it’s nutritious and protein-rich and also lighter and more digestible than heavier slow-cooked meat sauces. Here are some more facts about the nutrition and health benefits of veal

Ingredients for veal ragu plus a bowl of grated Parmigiano cheese.
First: Gather your ingredients.

Ingredients in this veal ragu.

Ground veal: Shoulder or brisket are the most popular cuts for ground veal.

Onion, Celery and Carrot. These make the flavour base for many Italian sauces. When sautéed together they are known as a soffritto.

Tomato passata: Store-bought passata is made from puréed blanched peeled and pasteurized tomatoes. Here in Italy, we can buy both smooth and rustic passata. The latter being thicker. You can also use chopped or whole-peeled canned tomatoes for this recipe.

Red or white wine. Half a glass of red or white wine is perfect for deglazing the pan and adding more complexity to the sauce. The alcohol in the wine evaporates during cooking but you can also leave it out if you prefer.

Prepared ingredients for veal ragu. Ground veal, finely chopped onion, celery and carrot, a measure of redwine and a measure of tomato passata.

Optional ingredients.

Pancetta. Pancetta adds a slightly salty umami flavour to the ragu. Although similar to bacon, the essence of pork is stronger in pancetta. If not available, you can also use fatty bacon.

Tomato paste/concentrate. A little tomato paste gives the ragu a more intense tomato flavour as well as a deeper red colour.

How to make the veal ragu.

Chop the carrot, celery and onion finely and cook them for about ten minutes in a pan over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil.

Finely chopped onion, celery and carrots cooking in skillet with olive oil.

Also, add the pancetta (if using) and let the fat render over low heat.

Increase the heat, add the veal meat and brown it for about 6-7 minutes.

Uncooked ground veal in skillet with finely chopped onion, celery and carrot.

Pour in the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula and wait for the alcohol to evaporate. After that, add the tomato paste (if using) and mix to dissolve it well.

Tomato passata added to skillet with cooked ground veal and vegetables.

Finally, add the tomato passata, basil, salt and pepper. Mix everything and leave to cook over low heat for about 60 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.

What pasta is best with veal ragu?

I served my veal ragu with a homemade macaroni from Piemonte called macaron del frèt. However, veal ragu is often paired with tajarin (a local type of tagliolini). It is also very good with other egg noodles like tagliatelle or even pasta tubes such as rigatoni or penne.

Homemade maccheroni (macaron del frèt) on wood work surface.
My homemade macaron del frèt

What is macaron del frèt?

This pasta is a type of macaroni al ferretto, a homemade pasta that’s more common in Southern Italy. A ferretto or fero is a metal rod used to make different traditional homemade pasta tubes, such as Calabrian fileja or Neapolitan fusilli.

Ingredients for homemade maccheroni; flour, eggs, salt, water and tablespoon of olive oil on wood work surface.
Ingredients for macaron del frét.

Nowadays, many Italians use a slim knitting needle instead. I made my homemade macaroni with a fero I was given by an old lady in a village in Puglia some years ago!

Flour in white bowl with eggs, salt, water and olive oil.
Step 1 Sift flour into a bowl and add salt, eggs, water and olive oil.

Homemade macaroni al ferretto isn’t very common in Northern Italy. There are different theories as to how a typical southern Italian pasta came to be traditional in the north.

Eggs beaten with a fork in the middle of white flour in a hite bowl.
Step 2 Beat the eggs with a fork and start to incorporate the liquid ingredients with the flour.

Some say it was southern chefs who brought it to Piemonte in the 1800s. Others think it was soldiers of Neapolitan origin who were serving with Napolean’s army in the north. And, of course, there are other theories!

Flour mixed with eggs, water, salt and olive oil mixed together in a white bowl.
Step 3 Keep mixing the flour and wet ingredients using a fork until well incorporated.

In the past, this homemade macaroni was quite popular in the beautiful Langhe region of Piemonte, particularly in what Italians call the ‘Alta Langa’ or high Langhe. It was a traditional winter pasta because hens lay fewer eggs in winter!

Ball of rough dough in white bowl.
Step 4. Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it no longer sticks to the sides.

This part of Piemonte is famous for its tajarin pasta, an egg-yolk-rich type of tagliolini. So, when eggs were less abundant, housewives made macaron del frèt instead.

Ball of ready maccheroni dough on wood work surface.
Step 5 Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface. Knead until smooth and pliable.

Sadly, nowadays, this pasta is rare. But some restaurants in the area specialize in traditional local dishes that they still make and serve, like the ‘l Bunet restaurant in Bergolo, Piemonte. Definitely on my to-visit list!

How to make macaron del frèt (homemade maccheroni).

Unlike other types of macaroni al ferretto, this pasta contains eggs and soft wheat flour. The dough also has a little salt, olive oil and tepid water.

You make it in the same way as other types of egg pasta dough by mixing the ingredients first in a bowl (or on a flat work surface) until you have the start of a ‘dough’.

A ball of dough, a long 'rope' of dough and some small 2cm (0.7") pieces of dough on a wood work surface.
Step 6 After letting the dough rest for 30 minutes, cut off a piece, roll it into a ‘rope’ and then cut into 2cm (0.7″) pieces.

Then knead the dough on a flour-dusted surface (wood or marble) until it’s soft and pliable. Roll it into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes.

A small piece of pasta dough with a slim iron rod (fero) pressed across it.
Step 7 Place the fero (ferretto) across each piece of dough and press down slightly.

Once the dough has rested, cut or break off a piece and roll it into a ‘rope’ about as wide as your index finger. Then cut this ‘rope’ into pieces about 2 cm (0.7″) long, similar to what we do to make gnocchi or orecchiette.

A small piece of dough rolled around a slim iron rod (fero)
Step 8 Roll the piece of dough around the fero.

Next slightly flatten each piece and place the ‘fero’ (iron rod or knitting needle) in the middle, wrap it around the fire and then roll it with your hands on the work surface. The dough will distribute itself evenly around and along the iron rod. Gently remove the ‘fero’ by sliding the pasta piece off it.

Ready maccheoni al ferretto on wood work surface.
Step 9 Using your hands roll the fero with the dough on the woodwork surface until the dough lengthens into a maccheroni. Then remove carefully from the fero.

Lay your ready macaroni on a flour-dusted tray and repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

Finish and serve.

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Add the macaroni. Stir to prevent the pasta pieces from sticking together. Homemade maccheroni al ferretto takes about 5-10 minutes to cook depending on the size and thickness of the pasta. Test taste before draining.

Homemade maccheroni cooking in boiling water in a large pot.

Mix the ready pasta with the veal ragu and serve immediately with some grated Parmigiano if required.

Cooked and drained homemade maccheroni in pan with veal ragu.

What to do with leftovers.

Both leftover veal ragu with pasta and without can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days. The ragu on its own can be frozen for up to 3 months and any uncooked macaroni can be frozen and then cooked without defrosting.

I love to reheat short pasta with ragu by baking it in the oven with some grated cheese on top. You can also reheat leftover pasta and sauce in the microwave.

Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni sprinkled with grated Parmigiano and fresh parsley in white bowl.

If you do try this veal ragu with homemade macaroni or your favourite pasta, I’d love to hear what you think.

veal ragu with homemade maccheroni

Veal ragu with homemade maccheroni

Serve this delicate and delicious veal ragu with homemade macaroni or your favourite pasta type. This simple ragu is easy to make, perfect for batch cooking or meal prep. Leftovers are fantastic baked in the oven.

Prep Time 45 minutes

Cook Time 1 hour

Course Homemade Pasta, Main Course

Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean, Northern Italy, Piedmont-Piemonte

Servings 4

Calories 860 kcal

Ingredients

For veal ragu

  • 1.5 lbs ground veal
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 2.5 flozs red or white wine
  • 3.5 ozs pancetta (optional) cut into small pieces
  • 1.5 lbs tomato passata
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate) optional
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For homemade maccheroni

  • 10.5 oz Italian 00 soft wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3.5 floz tepid water You may need more.

To serve

  • 3 ozs Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated
  • fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

Make the veal ragu

  • Peel and finely chop the onion, wash and finely chop the carrots and celery.
  • Cook the vegetables for about ten minutes in a pan over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Also, add the pancetta (if using) and let the fat render over low heat.
  • Increase the heat, add the veal meat and brown it for about 6-7 minutes.
  • Pour in the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula and wait for the alcohol to evaporate. After that, add the tomato paste (if using) and mix to dissolve it well.
  • Finally, add the tomato passata, salt and pepper and leave the ragu to cook over low heat for 60 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the macaroni

  • Sift the flour into a bowl. add the eggs, salt and olive oil. Using a fork, beat the eggs and start to incorporate with the flour adding the water a little at a time.
  • Once the flour and liquid are well mixed together, use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it no longer sticks to the sides and can be shaped into a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a flour-dusted work surface and knead until it’s smooth and pliable. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap (clingfilm). Let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Cut a small piece off the dough. Rewrap the rest of the dough so it doesn’t dry out. Roll the piece you cut off into a ‘rope’ about the thickness of your index finger.
  • Cut the dough ‘rope’ into 2cm (0.7″) pieces like for gnocchi or orecchiette.
  • Place the iron rod (fero) or knitting needle across a piece of dough. Wrap the dough around the fero and then use your hands to roll it up and down on your work surface. The dough will stretch along the rod.
  • Once the macaroni is about 7-8 cm (2.5-3″) carefully remove IT from the fero and place it on a flour-dusted tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Finish and serve

  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Add the macaroni. Stir to prevent the pasta pieces from sticking together. Homemade maccheroni al ferretto takes about 5-10 minutes to cook depending on the size and thickness of the pasta. Test taste before draining.
  • Mix the ready-drained pasta with the veal ragu and serve immediately with some grated Parmigiano and fresh parsley if required.

Prevent your screen from going dark

Notes

This veal ragu can be served with different types of pasta including tagliatelle or pasta tubes like rigatoni or penne.
Nutritional values include the ingredients for the homemade maccheroni.
Suggestions for storing and serving leftovers can be found in the main text.

Nutrition

Calories: 860kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 50gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 443mgPotassium: 1590mgFiber: 6gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 6177IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 95mgIron: 9mg

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Recipes

More Recipes Like This