The GP Advent Calendar of Cuisine – Kent’s Ragu with Tagliatelle

Kent, Going Postal

While not a traditional Christmas recipe it’s always well received in the Kent household on cold a dreary winter  day.  In essence ragu with tagliatelle is a much better version of the bastardised ‘spag bol’ that seems to have  taken hold in the country. This recipe should be more than enough to feed 4 very hungry adults with enough to put  in the freezer.

Let’s get started with the ingredients…

750g of good quality mince beef
1 pack of bacon lardoons which is around 200g
1 medium carrot
1 medium white onion
1 stick of celery
1 tube of tomato puree
2 cloves of garlic
2 beef stock cubes (you can add one more for taste)
Around a pint of water
Good sized glass of white wine
Black pepper
Good quality olive oil
Pasta of your choice….


Peel the carrot and onion and along with the celery cut into ½ cm dice place in a suitable container and set  aside for laterz.

Get a good size pan on the hob (a le creuset casserole pan is perfect for this) when it’s up to temperature add  in some olive oil and the bacon lardoons. Using a medium heat fry until the bacon had rendered out its fat and  cooked as to be nicely browned. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

With the heat back on the pan put the minced beef in and cook until it’s done, some caramelised pieces are good  but don’t over cook it. Again take the slotted spoon and remove the mince beef place in a suitable container and  set aside.

Put the pan back on the heat with a little more olive oil and chuck in the vegetables you painstakingly prepared  earlier and the 2 cloves of crushed garlic, give them a good mix in the olive oil turn the heat down to low and  sweat them off until tender. This normally take around 20 minutes so it’s a good time to pour a glass of the  white wine and catch up with the comments on Going Postal, but remember to give them an occasional stir.

After 20ish minutes pour in the glass of wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Whilst that’s doing boil the  kettle and to a measuring jug add a pint of the boiled water and the two stock cubes, give them a mix to ensure  they are dissolved. Get yourself back to the cooker and add into the pan the bacon and minced beef the pint of  stock a whole tube of tomato puree and some black pepper. Give it a thorough mix and set the pan to simmer for  around 2 hours (or longer if you like), make sure you check back periodically and give the Ragu a stir, you may  need to add a little water during the cooking. Remember to taste to check for seasoning if you feel there is not  enough add a further stock cube or just some salt.

Once ready serve with your favourite pasta – I always serve mine with dried tagliatelle but you use whatever you  have got in the cupboard and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.


© Kent