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Rach's Tuscan-style ragu will make a star dish out of any pasta, but here she pairs it with homemade pappardelle for her stuffed roses.
"Of course, you can simply make this meat sauce, cook store-bought pappardelle to package directions, toss and serve. But if you enjoy making fresh pasta, make the recipe below for egg pasta and create stuffed pappardelle roses, which I saw online, in a video forwarded to me from my Italian teacher. (Shout out to Chef Paolo from Pappagallo (Parrot) resort in Italy for the epic idea!) Regardless, my sauce is very easy and tasty, and I cook dry pappardelle, as well, along with the roses because we feed so many people from our home most days of our week. You can fold and cut the pasta dough by hand or machine into tagliatelle or pappardelle. This base recipe works well for stuffed pastas and is a go-to for us at the holidays when we make a tortellini factory out of our pantry or for revving up for ravioli on another Sunday. I weigh flour on a cheap scale I've had for years for all pasta and the limited baking I do, but I've included dry measurements to approximate the weights here." –Rach
Rach's Tip For Vegetarians: Substitute two 12-ounce packages plant-based meat (Rach likes Impossible) to make a meat-free ragu.
For the meat sauce, heat EVOO over medium-low heat and add the minced carrot, celery, onion, herbs, zest and salt, cook slowly to release the juices 12 to 15 minutes, do not brown. If you see the pan gets too hot and begins any browning, add a bit of water and let it absorb, stir. Add meats and raise heat to crumble and brown a bit, add nutmeg, garlic and pepper, stir another minute. Add tomato paste and stir into meat, add wine and let it cook off most of its alcohol and reduce to ⅓ cup, add milk/cream and let it bubble into meat, add stock and tomatoes and drop heat to lowest possible on stovetop. Simmer 1 hour, adding a bit more liquid as needed to keep the sauce from sticking or browning, to create a rich, thick and sweet finish.
If using store-bought dry pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil, season water with salt. Cook pasta a couple of minutes, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and return pasta to pot. Add reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons butter, a sprinkle of Parm, and half the meat sauce. Plate and top with remaining sauce and parsley.
Let meat sauce cool a bit if moving on to make stuffed fresh pappardelle roses.
For the fresh egg pasta, make a well in the center of your measured flours sprinkled with salt on a large work surface; I use my wooden countertop. In the center, drop in eggs, add a drizzle of good olive oil and, using a fork, in stages pull more and more flour to incorporate the mixture into a shaggy dough, then collect and press with a bench scraper. Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes, turning back into itself until a smooth surface forms. Wrap tight with plastic and rest about 1 hour.
Cut into 5 pieces and place through pasta machine 3 times on first setting. Go down a notch and a half or so, and feed dough through machine, two passes. Continue until you reach next to last setting for thinness. If pieces of dough are larger, after the first pass, fold each time you replace dough at feeder, and for each time to follow, catching and folding sheets. Arrange sheets on parchment lightly dusted with "00" flour and top last parchment with a towel to keep sheets moist and protected.
Cut sheets into 5-inch wide panels and place a 1-inch wide line of cooled meat sauce down the center leaving a 1-inch edge at each end. Wet the pasta all around the perimeter with water and fold to seal the filling in the center. Press the long edge with tines of a fork to mark and roll the stuffed pappardelle into a snail-shell form, place back on parchment-lined pan. Repeat until you’ve used up all the pasta.
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Heat a few inches of water in wide pot and bring to boil, reduce heat to keep at even boil. Add a couple roses at a time, filling-side-down, and use a small spider and a spatula to control them from turning or rolling. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes and transfer to parchment.
Grease a baking dish with butter, add roses of stuffed pasta filling-side up, pressed edges-side down, and dot the tops with more bits of soft butter. Top half the roses with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the other half with the meat sauce and a sprinkle of Parm, bake about 12 minutes to golden. Serve an inverted white rose next to a meat sauce-topped rose alongside pappardelle with more meat sauce.