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Everyday meals under $15 – Tonight, Pappardelle with ragu

September 22, 2009


One of the things I have noticed while talking to friends is that most people have a hard time making great tasting, everyday meals on a small budget.  This got me really excited because this is EXACTLY what I’ve been doing for many years now.  It just takes a bit of creativity and some practice working with limited ingredients.  But it can be done.  So this is the first of many recipes I will post on this subject and my hope is that you’ll try them, mix them up and get inspired to try new things yourself.  I’ll focus on seasonal meals as things in season are always cheaper than when their out of season.  I want to share recipes that excite me, are affordable and taste great. So the first recipe is Pasta with ragu sauce done my way.

There are few cooking pleasures that equal making your own fresh pasta.  The confidence and pride that comes with being able to make something from scratch is amazing.  Pasta made with fresh eggs is  silky and delicate and is preferred over dried pasta for this recipe.  I love my ragu with a mixture of wild mushrooms with not too much tomato in it.  The result is a very savoury and rich ragu screaming for a gorgeous Chianti, Southern Italian red, full bodied Grenacha from Spain or a spicy Shiraz from Australia.  I’ve added a super simple side dish of steamed broccoli with chili, garlic and olive oil that cuts the richness of the pasta.  Enjoy!

Fresh Pappardelle Pasta

300g Flour
3 eggs
splash of olive oil

Place flour in a bowl or on your counter and create a well in the middle.  Crack the eggs into the well along with the splash of olive oil and mix with fork until the mixture comes together.  At this point it will look like a shaggy mass of dough.  Knead the dough by squashing it with the heal of your hand, stretch it, pull it, flip it, squash it some more, fold it over and keep doing this until your shaggy mass has transformed into a smooth ball of dough.  The kneading helps develop gluten which gives the pasta a nice springy texture.  Wrap in plastic cling film and rest in fridge for at least 30 mins.

I use a hand crank pasta machine but if you don’t have one you can always roll it out with a rolling pin. The trick is to cut off smaller pieces off the main ball of dough so you’re not trying to hand roll a piece that is 6 feet long!  You want to roll your dough out to the thickness of between a drink coaster and a playing card and about 12inches long and 4 inches wide.  Flour the long piece of thin dough and roll from one end until you have a cigar shaped piece of dough.  Use your knife to cut 1 inch slices.  Unwind the Pappardelle and dust with more flour and put to the side until you are ready to cook the pasta.  The same applies if you’re using a pasta machine.  Continue to roll it to the same thickness as per the hand rolling technique.

Ragu Sauce & Broccoli with chili

250g ground pork
250g ground beef
4 cups rough cut mushrooms (wild & brown mushrooms)
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 broccoli crown
1 red chili diced
1 clove garlic diced
olive oil, salt and pepper
parmesan (optional)

Sautee onions and garlic with a generous pinch of salt until translucent.  Add the pork and beef and continue to fry.   Add mushrooms & thyme, increase heat and add some fresh ground pepper and cover with lid making sure to stir it every couple of mins for 10 mins.  Add balsamic vinegar turn down heat slightly and continue to simmer for another 10 mins.
At this point you can just leave it on a low heat and allow the sauce to concentrate and get richer!

Boil two big pots of salted water and add the pasta to one and boil for 3-5 mins and the broccoli to the other.  After about 2 mins the broccoli should be ready.  It should look bright green, not army green.  Drain off broccoli, add diced chili, diced garlic, a splash of olive oil.  Mix together and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Serve on small platter or dinner plate. Drain pasta, arrange on plates or pasta bowls, scoop generous amounts of ragu over pasta and finish the dish with a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan if you’ve got it.

Serves 4
Wine Pairings – Australian Shiraz, Italian Chianti, Spanish Grenacha, Negroamaro from Southern Italy

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2009 5:58 am

    I’ve never tried homemade “pasta”… why not? with a delicious french wine: We’ll have a nice family dinner! thank you…

  2. September 24, 2009 7:09 am

    I made homemade pasta once, I rolled it out with a rolling pin and actually used my pizza cutter to hand cut the noodles – time consuming but totally worth it! 😀

    Thanks for your ragu recipe – I don’t like mushrooms, but my husband loves them!

  3. September 24, 2009 11:04 am

    I’ve never tried it

  4. September 27, 2009 11:51 am

    I browsed back from Sara Remington’s blog to yours and what a delightful discovery! I tried to make homemade pasta once a very very long time ago (I think I might have been a teenager) and it was a disaster, but have been thinking about trying it again recently. Your portfolio is beautiful btw.

  5. September 27, 2009 1:22 pm

    Your ragu looks so good! I’ve never tried making Pappardelle before and must try now. Love the simplicity of this dish.

  6. September 29, 2009 8:44 am

    beautiful photos!

  7. October 4, 2009 5:31 pm

    Wow, that really was fresh pappardelle pasta on the back of the chair! I love fresh pasta and your recipe for ragu looks really good.

    I enjoyed your blog post. You are right with a few ingredients and a little creativity dinner on a budget can be a snap.

  8. October 10, 2009 9:27 am

    What a delicious blog. I try to prepare meals under $15 also. I’ve been buying what’s in season and can make a great soup at this time of the year for less than $5. For Dinner pasta are always a great choice if I want to stay within budget.

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