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How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

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How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:26 pm

Firstly, my fresh pasta is whisper thin and flecked with fresh wild spinach and the Ragù is rich yet understated, and a silky layer of Bescimella (White sauce known as Bechamel in French and English) which melds the two together for an ethereal dining experience. :thumbsup :thumbsup

Having great great great grandfather paternal bloodlines in Italy, we all have quite a penchant for Italian regional cuisine and it is a family tradition to eat Italian on Saturdays. We call it our Pasta Day.

Here is my Ragù family recipe: :thumbsup :thumbsup

5 Tablesp. Italian Extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablesp. unsalted butter of choice
1 Carrot finely diced
1 médium onion minced finely
1 stalk of celery diced finely
1 garlic clove minced
1/ 4 kilo sliced pancetta, sliced into quarters
1 kilo ground veal or beef
1 kilo ground porc
1 / 4 cup standard measuring cup of Italian tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup of dry White Italian Wine ( I employ a White wine from a friend in Verona, The Wine Shop, Lago di Guarda ) ..
1 Tsp. salt
1 / 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the Besciamella ( White Sauce or Bechamel ):

5 tablesps. of unsalted butter
1/ 4 cup of Italian Farina (flour) unbleached all purpose Bio
3 cups whole milk
1 / 2 tsps. salt
1 / 2 tsp grated nutmeg

My pasta dough for my lasagne:

1 Tsp. salt
1 cup firmly packed fresh spinach with coarse stems removed ( rinsed thorougly of all sand and farm soil debris )
4 Extra large eggs
1/ 2 tsp. Italian Evoo
4 cups ( standard measuring cup) of Italian bio unbleached flour

Special Equipment:

A Pastry scraper
A Pasta Machine
13 x 9 inch lasagne pan that is at least 2 inches deep

To Make the Ragù:

Heat the Evoo and the butter in a wide 6 to 8 quart heavy Dutch Casserole or pot over moderate heat until the butter is melted. Then sauté the carrot, the onion, the celery, and the garlic stirring occassionally, until tender but not browned 12 minutes.
2) When the vegetables are tender, increase heat and stir in the ground veal, porc and pancetta.. Cook stirring occasionally & breaking up any lumps, until the meat is starting to brown, 12 minutes ..
3) Then stir in the tomato paste, milk and the wine and gently simmer, uncovered over a low slow flame, until almost all the liquid has evaporated but the Ragù is still moist ..
Approx. 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours on very low slow flame ..
4) Now add the salt and the freshly ground black pepper and remove pot from the burner ..

Ready for your Pasta .. or ready to incorporate into one ´s Lasagne ..

Besciamella / Bechamel :

Melt butter in a 3 quart heavy Saucepan over moderate heat ..
Whisk in the flour until smooth and velevety.
Then cook, whisking frequently until a pale golden 4 to 6 minutes ..

Now, heat the milk in a separate sauce pan ( 1 1/2 quart size ) and bring to high simmer ..
Adding milk, 1 cup at a time, to the butter mixture whisking constantly until velvety.

Bring the sauce to a boil, and whisk in the flour until velvety ..

Remove from the heat and add the grated nutmeg and the salt ..

Cover with wax paper buttered side down and let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally.

This is ready to top a pasta for baking such as lasagne or baked ziti Siciliano ..

Have a wonderful weekend ..
Back to my kitchen ..
:thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup
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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Renée » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:56 pm

Well, isn't that amazing Alexandria! Your Ragù is exactly the same as the one that I make! I use a mix of beef and pork, which is easily obtainable from the supermarkets. Yes, I use milk too and the celery and pancetta. Long slow cooking is most important!

It's such a long time since I made it and seem to remember using Buffalo Mozzarella in the Béchamel. I used to make my own pasta and do have a pasta machine, but have to confess to buying it ready-made these days. Pure laziness!

I have a wonderful book by Marcella Hazen, but always searched around for other recipes and chose what I thought was the best.

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend!

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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:59 pm

Renée. :thumbsup :thumbsup

It is a fairly standard recipe in the Bologna, Emilia Romagna region of Italy ..

Some prepare it with more pancetta or less meat and some add more of this or that ..

I had made some cannellonne today baked in oven with Besciamella .. Yum ..

Always comforting .. And I agree, slow low flame as in Slow Cooking ..

I too buy fresh Pasta from a distributor friend, filled with mushrooms or truffles or spinach & riccotta but I was home and so I made home made ..

Thank you for all your feedback and have a marvelous day .. :wave :wave
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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby jeral » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:55 pm

Hi Alexandria. How do you form your cannelloni tubes please? Rolled up sheets or pasta pockets? Ta.

I'm impressed that you make your own pasta - flour dust everywhere followed by a big clean up ;)

My being non-meat and non-butter, my tomato and bechamel sauce equivalents don't qualify, but I can confirm that even veggie tomato sauces benefit from a long simmering time irrespective of how enhanced.

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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:19 pm

Jeral,

Thank you for your interest .. :thumbsup ..

My Pasta Dough: :thumbsup :thumbsup


1) Blanch the wild fresh spinach in boiling wáter for 45 seconds, and then drain in a sieve and immediately chill in an ice bath. Drain the spinach and squeeze dry in a kitchen towel and remove as much liquid as possible. Then mince as finely as possible ..
2) Stir together the eggs, spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian Evoo in a médium sized bowl until combined homogenously.
3) Then, I make a mound of Italian flour ( 3 1/2 cups in a standard measuring cup ) and I place on a wooden cutting board. I make a well in the centre of the flour, and add the egg mixture. Using a fork, I beat the egg mixture and incorporate the flour a little at a time ..
4) I begin with the well, and keep the wall intact by supporting the outside with my left hand.
5) When you have a thick paste, that you cannot beat anymore, and about half the flour is incorporated, I start kneading the dough.
6) I use my palms and not my fingers.
7) Then, I knead in the the remaining flour from the wooden board.
8) Once I have a cohesive mas, I add 1 cup of flour and remove the dough from the board and scrape the board clean with a scraper, discarding any leftover bits.
9) I lightly dust the board, with clean flour and and continue kneading until the dough is elastic - about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough is now firm ..
10) I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 35 - 40 minutes.

Assembling the Cannellone or Lasagne: :yum :yum :yum :yum :yum :yum :yum :yum :yum

1) Put oven rack in middle position .. ( 200 Centig preheated oven ) ..
2) In 6 to 8 quart sauce pan, or stock pot, I put water to 3 /4 full .. Add your salt to taste ..
3) I drop 6 pieces of rectangular shaped pasta sheets into the boiling water, and cook until al dente, less than 1 minute.
4) I transfer with a slotted spoon to ice bath with a drizzle of Evoo and with a slotted spoon drain the slices of pasta and pat dry.
5) Then, they are easy to stuff, roll and seal .. (cannellones ) ..

Definitely slow low flame soups, stews, sauces, always much better than "quickie cooking" ! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hope this has helped you Jeral .. :yum :yum :yum :yum
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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Stokey Sue » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:59 pm

I've never made ragu using 2 kg of meat! You need so little at any time

We discussed ragu previously
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3300&p=47735&hilit=Ragu#p47735

I use a little chicken liver in mine, if possible

I make a bechamel very similar, but I see no point in using Italian farina (unless in Italy), bechamel is a staple throughout Europe.I use any good quality all pupise white flour (bleaching flour is illegal in the EU, and has beenfor some time)

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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:09 pm

Stokey Sue,

We have a fairly large family ..

My parents
My maternal grandparents
My paternal grandparents
My in laws
My Twin sons
My two daughter in laws
My two grand sons
My husband and I

So, when I make Ragù, I prepare enough to feed all of us, and to have extra to freeze and leftovers for a Sunday and a lunch on Monday ..

Have a nice weekend ..
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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby jeral » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:41 pm

Alexandria wrote:Jeral,

Thank you for your interest .. :thumbsup ..

My Pasta Dough:
..[clip]...

I forgot to thank you for the recipe and method you use for your cannelloni tubes. Stuffed things of all sorts have their own appeal - it must be the hidden delight of "something inside".

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Re: How do you Ragù ? How do you Besciamella / Bechamel ?

Postby Alexandria » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:58 am

Jeral, :thumbsup :thumbsup

Thank you very much ..

Yes, this is truly a gem of a recipe ..

Some people use alot less meat but I had my family over and so, 4 Grand parents, my parents, my in laws, my twins sons, my 2 daughter in laws, my 2 grandsons and us = 16 of us ..

:thumbsup :thumbsup

There were hardly any leftovers ! Always a positive sign ..

Have a lovely week ahead ..
Barcelona, soulful & spirited, filled with fine art, amazing architecture, profoundly steeped in culture & history, and it engages all your senses, and food fancies.

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