When I ordered a couple of crates of Muir Glen Reserve tomatoes back before the Muir Glen Tomato Tasting at Garden at the Cellar, I was definitely excited for the tomatoes, but I was also excited to check out the recipe book that came along with the tomatoes. The recipes were all created by chefs who actually went out to California to hand-pick Muir Glen tomatoes.
While the tomato soup, which I still intend to make, was the first thing that caught my eye, I decided the Spinasse Ragu (named for one of the chef's restaurants in Seattle) would make a fantastic meal that both Jeff and I would enjoy. The ragu is a combination of ground beef and pork simmered with tomatoes, wine, and herbs until tender.
To step up my game a little, I figured I'd break out my pasta maker. It had been a long time since I'd used it, and I purposely stocked up on some Perfect Pasta Flour Blend when I went to King Arthur Flour just to encourage myself to make fresh pasta more often. Believe me, it's not as hard as they made it seem on the Italian episode of Top Chef.
The fresh pasta and the hearty ragu made for a filling winter dinner... and days of leftovers!
Spinasse Ragu (adapted from the Muir Glen Vine Dining Tour recipe book)
(Print this recipe)
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
2 stalks celery, cut in large pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary
1 can Muir Glen Meridian Ruby diced tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
32 ounces chicken broth
In a large Dutch oven, cook the beef and pork with salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Drain and discard the fat, transfer the meat to a large bowl, and set aside.
Meanwhile, place onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in food processor, and process until finely chopped.
In same Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add the chopped veggies and rosemary, and cook for about 15 minutes, until veggies start to brown.
Add tomatoes and meat to veggies, and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add the red wine, and increase heat to medium-high.
Cook for another 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
Add the chicken broth, and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer 3 to 4 hours or until meat is tender. (These 3 to 4 hours give you plenty of time to make fresh pasta.)
Make sure to remove the sprig or rosemary before serving.
Homemade Fettuccini (adapted from recipe on back of Perfect Pasta Flour Blend bag)
3 cups Perfect Pasta Flour Blend
4 large eggs
2 to 4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup flour (for work surface and dough)
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, place pasta flour. Mix in the eggs, and then knead the dough, adding enough water to form a smooth dough.
Form the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and leave it on the counter to rest for 30 minutes.
Flour your counter well (or lay down sheets of parchment and flour those), and set up a cookie sheet covered with parchment, and flour that as well.
After the dough has rested, flour both sides of it, and cut it into smaller rectangles. Run each rectangle through your pasta machine (according to manufacturer's directions), until desired thickness is reached. (I made fettuccine, so I went to the second to last setting.)
Lay the pasta sheets on the floured counter.
Keep the sheets covered with plastic until you're ready to cut the pasta.
Next cut the sheets of dough with an attachment set for your desired pasta shape.
Arrange the pasta in little nests on the prepared cookie sheet, and leave them to dry. (I think I only had my pasta out for about 2 hours and then just used it even though it wasn't completely dried out.)
When your ragu is ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta for 2 to 4 minutes, until it is cooked but still firm.
Drain the pasta, and immediately stir a little sauce or olive oil into it.
Serve the fresh pasta and ragu together.
Have you ever made fresh pasta?