There is something especially satisfying about indulging in luxuriously thick sauces—blended with flavourful Italian cheeses and seasonal vegetables—during the chilly depths of the winter. Here are three of our favourite hearty pasta dishes.
1. TAGLIATELLE ALLA BOLOGNESE
This traditional ragù from the city of Bologna is the perfect condiment for fresh tagliatelle all’uovo (egg tagliatelle).
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 lb (500 g) Authentic tagliatelle
- ¼ lb (150 g) Pork pancetta
- ¾ lb (300 g) Ground beef
- 50 g Chopped onions
- 50 g Chopped carrot
- 50 g Chopped celery
- 3 tbsp Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup (125 ml) White wine
- 2 cups (500 ml) Beef broth
- 300 g San Marzano dell’Agro
- Sarnese-Nocerino PDO (diced, or tomato purée, i.e. passata)
- ½ cup (125 ml) Whole milk
- ½ cup (125 ml) Fresh cream
- Salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
- Begin by chopping the pancetta and all the vegetables to make a battuto (a base of finely chopped or beaten raw ingredients).
- In a pot (about 20 cm), cook this mixture in olive oil for about ten minutes.
- Add and sear the beef, using a fork to break up the clumps. Pour in the white wine and cook on high until it is nearly evaporated.
- Add the chopped tomatoes (or tomato purée) to the mixture in the pot, and cook over low heat for 2 hours, leaving it covered. Stir with a spoon, adding the beef broth from time to time.
- In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, add salt and the tagliatelle. Cook until al dente.
- When the ragù is almost cooked, add the milk, and season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the cream and nutmeg to taste.
- Drain the tagliatelle and add the previously prepared sauce, tossing the pasta until it is completely covered.
2. LINGUINE WITH PESTO AND TOMATOES
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 lb (500 g) Authentic Italian Linguine
- I/2 cup (120 g) Fresh or canned grape tomatoes imported from Italy
- 2/3 cups (150 g) Grated Pecorino Romano PDO
- 20 Basil leaves
- ½ cup (20 g) Parsley
- 6 Cloves of garlic
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt, pepper to taste
- In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, add salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente.In a mortar, crush the basil, parsley and garlic, occasionally adding a trickle of Italian extra virgin olive oil, salt and fine black pepper so as to obtain a dense sauce.
- Chop the tomatoes into cubes, adding them to the sauce.
- Drain the linguine and add the previously prepared sauce, tossing the pasta until it is completely covered.
- Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano PDO.
3. BUCATINI CON MELANZANE
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1/2 cup (118 mL) Italian extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 14 oz (400 g) Eggplant, peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) Salt
- A pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb (500 g) San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino PDO
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp (4 g) Oregano, thinly chopped
- 12 Basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 lb (500 g) Authentic Italian Bucatini pasta
- 1/2 cup (50 g) Freshly grated Pecorino Romano PDO
- Heat Italian extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Cook garlic for 30 seconds, add eggplant, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pinch of pepper, cook for about 25 minutes, stirring often.
- In the pan, coarsely mash eggplant with a fork, add oregano and cook 5 minutes more. Add the basil and keep the sauce warm.
- In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, add salt and the bucantini. Cook until al dente.
- Drain pasta and save 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Combine the pasta and the sauce in a bowl and slowly add the cooking water.
- Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano PDO and serve hot.
- Suggestion: Add peperoncino (chili pepper) for a touch of Calabrian spice.