Italian pasta recipes

Buonissimo cucina Italiana!

Butcher Advice

The best cuts for Italian pasta recipes

Beef mince. Premium, gourmet, lean, best and choice are just some of the terms used by retailers to describe the differing beef mince categories. Ask you butcher about its grade. Veal can be substituted for beef, as can lamb in most recipes.

Italian style meatballs

Moist lemony meatballs with tomato sauce

Boneless shin/gravy beef and other beef casserole cuts are ideal when slowly simmered for a succulent, meaty pasta sauce.

Gnocchi with gravy beef in a red wine sauce

Slow cooked beef ragu

Buying tips

What mince works best with what recipe?

Leanest grades of mince are the preferred choice for health, but a slightly higher fat content will give a better result in some recipes.

Go for lean beef mince for meat sauces used in dishes like bolognaise and lasagna.

Grades of mince with a little more fat are good for meatballs as that little bit of extra fat will keep them moist.

Tips & Techniques

Essential tips for a bolognaise sauce

  1. Heat a large, deep-sided frypan until moderately hot, cook the mince in small batches and break up lumps with a fork.
  2. Cook it until any liquid that comes off the mince has evaporated. The mince can then begin to brown. Set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and then add onions and garlic to the pan, let them cook until just tender. Then return all the mince to the pan with the sauce ingredients.
  4. The mixture should simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes – if not 25 or 30 minutes will be near as good.

It’s all in the timing

  • If you have the time, don’t hurry the process, reducing the sauce gives it much more flavour.
  • You can raise the heat if you’d like to speed up the process. If the sauce reduces too much and becomes dry, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water or stock.
  • The completed sauce should be thick enough so that the liquid does not separate when it’s added to the pasta.

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