For the pasta
400g flour or plain (all-purpose) flour
For the ragù
150g unsmoked pancetta, minced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
200g ground beef steak
200g pork mince
a glass red wine (optional, about 125 ml)
400g good-quality tin whole tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
150ml whole milk
1 bay leaf
freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Make the egg pasta. Once you have made your sfoglia, leave it for five minutes to dry a little, before rolling it up like a carpet and cutting across the pasta to create folded over ribbons about seven mm wide. If you want to make nests, for easier handling, then take four rolled ribbons at a time, shake them out, drape them over a finger and grab the eight ends. Keep holding them and wrap the strands around your hand so you end up with a nest and the ends are on the inside. This way, the ends don’t dry out as quickly.
Take a casserole or deep sauté pan and heat it over a medium flame. Add the pancetta and fry it so the fat is released. Sauté the carrot, celery and onion, until the mixture is soft – it will take around 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the meat. Brown it, stirring frequently until the meat has broken up and looks like it’s abandoned all hope of becoming a burger.
If you want to add wine, do so now and let it evaporate. Blitz the tomatoes with a hand-held blender and pour this into the meat mixture. Stir in the tomato purée, half the milk, the bay leaf and plenty of freshly grated nutmeg. Let the mixture simmer very gently, adding more milk when necessary, for a couple of hours. At the end, when you push a spoon through the ragù you should briefly see the bottom of the pan.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a generous couple of teaspoons of salt and return the water to the boil before heaping in your pasta. Give it a stir and test your pasta for doneness after one minute. It should have cooked within two minutes. Drain it, return it in the pan and stir through the ragù. You want the ragù to coat the pasta; resist the urge to drown your tagliatelle in the sauce. Plate up and add a final flurry of Parmigiano Reggiano over each serving.
Extracted from Pasta Grannies: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks by Vicky Bennison (Hardie Grant, £20) Photography © Emma Lee