Pasta al Ragu en Forno con Pecorino Print Email

1 onion
1 rib celery
1 carrot
3 sprigs Italian parsley
8 oz lean beef
2 oz prosciutto or pancetta
2 cups Italian canned tomatoes (Cento or San Marzano)
¼ cup High quality tomato paste
2-3 TBS olive oil
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
1 LB pasta, short cuts are best
1 cup canned Italian White beans
1 lbs fresh spinach
1 clove garlic thinly sliced
1-2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Shaved Pecorino cheese

Dice the onion, celery and carrot. Chop the parsley leaves. Mince the meat and prosciutto or pancetta. Drain the tomatoes through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Remove as many of the seeds from the tomatoes and discard. Add the tomato flesh to the liquid and combine with the tomato paste. Simmer the tomato mixture until slightly thickened. While the tomatoes are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the diced vegetables and parsley. Sauté until soft and fragrant. Add the meats and cook until browned. Add the tomato mixture and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. It the mixture seems a bit dry add some more olive oil or even a touch of water.

Sauté the sliced garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the spinach and toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in a bowl and squeeze out the excess moisture. Add the beans and stir to combine.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta until it is slightly underdone. Drain and set aside. In an ovenproof pan large enough to hold the pasta and the sauce, place a layer of pasta in the bottom of the bowl, ladle some of the sauce over the pasta, add a layer of the spinach and beans in the center and continue layering, finishing with the sauce until you have used it all. Toss the bread crumbs with the olive oil and spread over the top of the dish. Scatter cheese over the top and bake in a 3500 F oven for 30-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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