Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
500 g (1lb 2oz) tagliatelle or other pasta, such as linguine, pappardelle or spaghetti
50 g (2oz) parmesan cheese, grated, to serve
For the ragù:
3 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion (about 250g/9oz), peeled and finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
3 sticks of celery, trimmed and finely diced
1 leek, trimmed and finely diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 kg (2lb 3oz) minced beef or pork, or 500g (1lb 2oz) minced beef and 500g (1lb 2oz) minced pork
1 bay leaf
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, or 800g (13/4lb) ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tblsp tomato purée
200 ml (7fl oz) white or red wine
2–3 tbsp sugar
First make the ragù. Place a large casserole dish or saucepan on a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, tip in the onion, garlic, celery and leek.
Season with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, for 8–10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the vegetables have softened. Turn the heat up to high, add the meat and stir to break up the mince, cooking until no traces of pink remain.
Add the bay leaf with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and sugar, and bring to the boil. If using the oven, cover the dish or pan with a lid and cook for about 1 hour. If cooking on the hob, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered and stirring regularly. When cooked, the sauce will have thickened and the tomatoes softened completely. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
Shortly before the sauce has finished cooking, prepare the tagliatelle. Place a large saucepan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for the length of time specified in the packet instructions or until just al dente. Drain in a colander, retaining about 50ml (2fl oz) of the cooking liquid, then tip the pasta back into the pan with the reserved liquid.
Add the sauce to the pasta and stir together. (Add as much sauce as you think you’ll need – you can always save the rest for another day.) Divide between individual plates, sprinkling over the grated Parmesan to serve.