Cheap Ragu with courgette tagliatelle

I have discovered something amazingly wonderful and supremely satisfying – the reduced meat counter at my local Morrisons. Every day of the week, but Saturdays especially, they have offers for meat that is nearing is sell-by date. Every one, and particularly students, know of the reduced sections but not always what to do with the resulting trolley full of meat for £5.40.

I have been watching ‘The Two Greedy Italians” recently, and whilst their opinions are slightly dated, it is very life affirming to watch a couple of old men dodder around Italy eating whatever they can get their hands on. Reminds me of my grandfathers…There is one recipe on the program that really struck me in its simplicity, the Meat Ragu that Gennaro cooks.

It is basically a load of different meats that are browned, finely diced ‘mirepoix’ (carrots, celery and onion) are added along with a couple of bay leaves and tins of chopped tomatoes. Oh and basil, a big old handful of it. This is left to simmer away for a few hours until it becomes this delicious, meaty sauce. On the TV program larger cuts of meat were used, these are removed at the end of cooking to make a separate dish – starter of pasta in the tomato sauce, main course of the meat with a side salad. I really like the idea of doing one big cook and ending with two distinct dishes – very cool.

Mine wasn’t quite the same as my sausages fell to pieces and I used half a kilo of beef mince too which all mixed into the sauce – no worries I’d just have to eat both courses at once. I initially ate this with some Rigatoni although yesterday I tried again but this time with the wonder food that is Courgette Tagliatelle. Honestly the most simple thing to make, well on par with Cauliflower rice, I just peeled a large courgette, rotating it a bit after each peel, until I’d done the whole thing and had a core of seeds left. The ribbons were then fried in oil, a pinch of salt added and then treated exactly like pasta – amazing!

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A bit more fresh basil, a twist or two of black pepper and a grate of cheese – AH YEAH! The best thing about this dish was I got to use all the reduced meat I’d bought – mince, sausages, pork chops/ribs etc. It all goes in and everything adds to the overall flavour. Also making this one big dish – it filled my entire casserole pan and needed 4 cans of tomatoes – means I can probably live off it for the next week, score!

I think I feel the beginning of a new Saturday afternoon routine…..

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