This slow-cooked onion and meat sauce is typically served with rigatoni, ziti or paccheri pasta and sprinkled with grated cheese.
Salsa Genovese (Onion Ragù with Beef)Course: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Simple
The secret to this pasta sauce’s creamy richness are ordinary red onion, cooked ever so slowly.
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
340 g (3/4 pound) whole beef chuck
4 lbs red onions, peeled and halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 cup (250 ml) white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb rigatoni, alternatively ziti, paccheri or candele
1/2 cup (1 cup if using microplane) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil for garnish
- In a Dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Add meat to pot and cook on all sides until browned, 8 – 12 minutes. Remove and season well with salt and pepper. Add onions, carrots and celery to pot. Cook stirring often, until wilted, about 20 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer and stir in tomato paste. Return meat to pot, cover the pot with a lid and simmer until meat is tender and onions start to dissolve into a cream, 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours. Let cool. Remove meat and shred with a fork into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot with onions and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt well, to the level of seawater. Cook pasta according to package instructions until just short of al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) pasta water.
- Add pasta to pot with onions and meat and cook, stirring well, over medium heat until pasta reaches desired doneness. Add reserved pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to cook, stirring, to make a creamy emulsion, 1 – 2 minutes more. Stir in most of the Parmigiano, reserving a few tablespoons for garnish, and parsley.
- Serve immediately in a warmed pasta bowl and garnish with remaining Parmigiano and torn basil leaves.