Ragu is an Italian dish made out of a meat-based sauce commonly served with pasta, it is a very generic definition for a meat sauce hence pasta dishes like Bolognese, Neapolitan and Barese falls in this category. Usually sauce is made by stock, water, wine, milk, cream, tomato or any combination of those. Meats used are can be beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, horse or game.
During the early days it is served without pasta and enjoyed more as a stew until the late 18th century with the influence of the French ragout. The first documented recipe for ragu that is paired with pasta that was used was maccheroni (or what we know as macaroni) dish prepared by Alberto Alvisi, he was the cook to the Cardinal of Imola the hence it was later known as The Cardinal’s Ragu. Then on the 19th century it gained popularity due to the affordability of pasta.
Today’s ragu recipe is made out of chicken and bacon infused with herbs, it’s simple yet very flavourful.
4 pcs boneless skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped
6 strips rasher bacon, chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 tsp dried sweet basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 pcs bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1. Generously season chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a large heavy skillet add oil then brown chicken pieces, remove from pan then set aside.
3. Add bacon and cook until crispy, remove from pan then set aside.
4. Add and sauté onions and garlic, add celery and carrot and cook in low heat for 10 minutes or until vegetables are smooth.
5. Deglaze pan with white wine then add the tomatoes, oregano, basil and bay leaves. Simmer in medium heat for 30 minutes.
6. Add the chicken and bacon then continue to simmer for 40 minutes, check sauce occasionally add water when it dries out, it should be thick in texture when finished.
7. While waiting for the sauce, cook pasta according to instructions.
8. Add the linguine to the ragu then toss to coat evenly. Serve.