Ragu Three Ways and A Seafood Pasta Dish

by Darina on January 15, 2014

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I have a guest post over at Oggi pane e salame, domani …., a popular Italian blog that I love. It means, “Today, bread and salami, tomorrow ….”. The recipes are posted in both Italian and English, which gives me a chance to practice my Italian while checking my understanding of the vocabulary as I go along. It’s been a long, long time, since I’ve spoken the language–which I once spoke quite fluently–but with a little practice I find that it starts coming back to me. I mourn that something I’ve worked so hard for can be so easily lost

My discovery of French cooking techniques has led to passion for French country cooking, but my first love affair was with Italy. If I believed in past lives, I might think that I was once a housewife in Tuscany, who spent her days making ravioli and fondling tomatoes in the garden. I have always been a city girl, but given half a chance, I would live in the Italian countryside in a heartbeat.

The recipe on Sonia’s blog is for my own recipe for Ragù, which is a hearty, Italian meat-based sauce that is often served with pasta, but I have made suggestions on how to serve it with polenta and gnocchi, and to stuff it into shells with cheese and drizzle it with gremolata. I love to make a big pot of this stuff in the winter time and freeze it in batches. It’s so versatile. I admit at times I’ve even added extra stock, and with  the addition of potatoes and carrots, have made a lovely stew. So head over to the blog and take a peek. It might be time to change up that Bolognese recipe in your repertoire.
gratinee.ragu.gnocchiI’m also sharing a recipe for squid ink pasta that I found in Donna Hay’s first Black & White issue (#70), which was a visual feast and inspired the shot below. Matt Armendariz gave a nod to the issue on his blog, sharing pics of the amazing props and the inside peek on the styling here. This recipe originally called for crab but I added a bit more seafood into the mix, just because. I had never tried squid ink pasta but served it at a dinner party I had recently and it was a hit.

Squid Ink Pasta with Crab and Lemon Crumbs
Serves 4


100g unsalted butter, chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 black chillies, thinly sliced (or red chillies, if unavailable)
2/3 cup (180ml) dry white wine
400g squid ink pasta
400g cooked crab meat
60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
lemon crumbs
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
140g (2 cups) white sourdough (or panko) breadcrumbs
sea salt and cracked black pepper
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated pecorino
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind


1) To make the lemon crumbs, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the bread begins to turn golden. Add the pecorino and lemon rind and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until golden and crisp.
2) Wipe out the pan with paper towel and return to medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes or until light golden. Add the wine and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Set aside and keep warm.
3) Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain, add to the pan sauce with the crab and lemon juice and toss to combine. Divide the pasta between serving plates and top with the crumb mixture to serve. Serve immediately.

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