Just the mention of Tuscany causes me to sway my hips from side to side and close my eyes, losing myself in a deep and melodic daydream. Those golden rolling hills captured in so many Renaissance paintings had me at first sight, and the traditions of its people have filled the pages of old and new books, alike. Oh, Tuscany, the way its sun enraptures every fold of fertile land below, holding still in a warm, lasting embrace.
Yes, we must all go to Tuscany, hopping from town to town, with one hand on our hearts and the other filled with purpose and Brunello di Montalchino. The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but surely the woman’s way is via Tuscany.
So, we went online, rented a three-hundred-year old villa and a Fiat Panda, packed up the family (dogs included), and flew to this great region with only one goal in mind—to live like locals. With that said, we decided what better way to get localized than to learn how to cook the local cuisine. For our very first lesson, our chef Francesco taught us how to make Tagliatelle from scratch.
It’ll be hard to go back to Tex-Mex after this!
- Typical Tuscan Ragu Sauce Ingredients:
- 1½ cup of diced onion
- 1½ cup of diced carrot
- 1½ cup of diced celery
- 3 pounds of ground pork
- 4 cups of tomato sauce (or peeled tomatoes)
- bottle of red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley
- fresh oregano
Homemade Tagliatelle Ingredients:
- 600 grams Tipo '00' Flour
- 6 Eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
- For the Sauce:
- In a frying pan, pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add carrots, celery, and onion.
- Cook for a couple minutes.
- Add ground pork and half a glass of wine.
- Don't cover because the wine needs to evaporate.
- Add tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Then add desired amount of fresh parsley and fresh oregano.
- Cook for 40 minutes, covering the frying pan on a low heat.
For the Tagliatelle:
- Pour the flour into a mound on the center of a clean surface.
- Create a bowl shape with the flour and add eggs in the center and a couple pinches of salt.
- Mix the eggs gently with a fork.
- Add olive oil and knead together slowly adding flour little by little until the mixture becomes smooth and compact.
- Rub dough lightly with olive oil.
- Then place your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- After your dough has chilled, take a small bit of flour and spread it out on a clean, smooth surface.
- Take a rolling pin and roll out long, wide sections of dough, as thin as possible
- Use a machine or knife to cut into strips of desired width (usually 1 finger width).
- Separate the pasta noodles to dry (about 30 minutes).
- Once dried, boil pasta with a dash of olive oil and pinch of salt for 4 minutes until cooked (but not mushy).
- Strain pasta with cold water so noodles can separate easily.
- Dish out desired portions of pasta, add Ragu sauce, and serve.