I cooked this at a supper club for 30 people recently. The fourth course of five – all containing black pudding – and as much as I love this dish, I fully did not expect every plate to come back clean. But they did! And so I think we can all agree that it is a winner. They told me so too.
You see the thing is when so many of your days revolve around cooking and you are generally the only person eating it, it becomes easy to question every bite and wonder if it is enough. Should it be more, bigger, brighter? Everyone who works alone has this problem in one way or another. It would be perfect to have someone to bounce things off, a recipe tester, a friend. A room full of 30 people eating your food with enthusiasm? Perfection.
Many were surprised that I would add black pudding to ragu. It works so well. Already I have a recipe for black pudding ragu that is pure black pudding, no other meat. It is a popular recipe on here, called (tongue in cheek) Corkese. I use Irish black pudding and would suggest that you seek it out for this too. It has a different texture to British black pudding, made with oats and spices, it crumbles and almost bursts when you roast it.
Using Traditional Tagliatelle with Ragu from Emilia Romagna as a Base
For this ragu, I leaned on my many happy travels to Italy, particularly to the home of ragu, Emilia Romagna, 6 times. Countless bowls of tagliatelle with ragu crossed my palate, each with their own twist in city restaurants and rural restaurants at the end of long winding roads cut through fields with sweeping tall green crops swaying in the breeze. I have been lucky enough to eat tagliatelle with ragu in peoples homes.
Travels are always better with locals, I cooked ragu with locals in Emilia Romagna a few times too. As with many classic dishes, ragu is very personal and recipes vary from family to family. The only thing that they all agree on is garlic has no place in ragu. Outside of this an Emilia Romagna ragu always starts with soffritto (carrot, celery, onion), and is often built on a combination of two meats (like pork and veal). There are aromatics (often rosemary), wine (red or white), tomato (some are tomato heavy, some only have a small amount) and sometimes they add milk.
We generally serve it wrong too, even when we get the sauce right. Tagliatelle with ragu is pasta forward with a lick of sauce. We tend to overload with sauce. And so, this is actually a frugal dish when done right. A gorgeous bowl of (handmade) tagliatelle with ragu can cost as little as €6 in Bologna. This recipe is based on all of my experiences in Italy, especially in Emilia Romagna, but with an Irish twist. There is no point in making a small bowl of ragu. It takes time and effort so make a large batch for family and friends, or store your leftovers in the freezer to enjoy on tired days later on.
Is there anything more soothing than a big bowl of tagliatelle with ragu?
- Soffrito - 2 carrots, 4 onions or banana shallots, 2 sticks celery (all peeled and finely chopped)
- 500g minced beef (as high fat as you can get - up to 20%)
- 500g minced pork (as high fat as you can get - up to 20%)
- 450g Irish black pudding, chopped small
- 4 sprigs rosemary, needles removed from the branch and finely chopped
- 250ml medium to full bodied red wine
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 500ml passata
- extra virgin olive oil
- finely grated parmesan and finely chopped parsley to serve, tossed in freshly cooked tagliatelle