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Ragu ain’t seen nothing yet

The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes

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Pork and Tomato Ragu

Pork and Tomato Ragu

Sage and Chicken Pasta

Sage and Chicken Pasta

Gremolata

Gremolata

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Pork and Tomato Ragu

WITH Christmas preparation ramping up, this week we have two pasta dishes which are absolutely delicious. Although not my favourite carbohydrate, pasta is very quick and easy to make. You can make your own if you have spare time, but durum pasta is just as good for a speedy dinner. Durum pasta is made with a simple mix of flour and water combined into a dough. The dough is then pushed through a mould to make your favourite pasta shape, orecchiette or penne for instance. Using a more traditional bronze-cut pasta extruder will result in it being a little more coarse, meaning sauce clings to it more easily. With pasta, you can do whatever you like or stick to the classics like carbonara. My first recipe, pork and tomato ragu, builds layers of flavour using minced pork, onion and garlic with a strong tomato sauce. Just like in my sage and chicken dish, you could prepare a creamier sauce using cream cheese, chicken and fresh herbs. Or replace the cream cheese with a fat-free alternative such as quark cheese or fat-free crème fraîche. In this case, add the fat-free product once the sauce is ready to serve to avoid boiling and splitting the crème fraîche or cheese. Remember, it’s always fun to be creative with your pasta. Happy cooking, Kevin

PORK AND TOMATO RAGU

Ingredients (serves 4):
■ 500g pork, minced
■ 2 tbsp olive oil
■ 1 onion, chopped
■ 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
■ 3 garlic cloves, crushed
■ 100g chestnut mushrooms, diced
■ 1 tbsp dried thyme
■ 3 tbsp tomato puree
■ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
■ 200ml red wine
■ 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
■ Salt and pepper
■ Wholegrain spaghetti to serve
■ Parmesan and gremolata to serve

Method:
1. Heat one tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the pork and saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes without overly stirring to allow the meat to colour well. Remove the mince and add the rest of the oil to the pan.
2. Still over high heat, add the onion and carrots to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until caramelised. Add the garlic, diced mushrooms, dried thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to caramelise and colour the mushrooms.
3. Next, stir in the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, red wine and Worcester sauce. Return the browned minced pork to the pan and bring to the boil.
4. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium heat until the minced is fully cooked and the sauce thickens slightly.
5. Cook the wholegrain spaghetti as per pack instructions in a saucepan of simmering salted water.
6. Drain the pasta and serve with a ladleful of ragu, sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan and blob of gremolata.

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Sage and Chicken Pasta

Sage and Chicken Pasta

Sage and Chicken Pasta

SAGE AND CHICKEN PASTA

Ingredients (serves 4):
■ 1 tbsp olive oil
■ 250g chicken fillet, diced
■ 1 large onion, chopped
■ 2 garlic cloves, chopped
■ 1 courgette, sliced
■ 1 sprig thyme
■ 125g pasta
■ 200ml white wine
■ 200g cream cheese
■ 2 tbsp fresh sage + extra to serve
■ 200g frozen peas
■ Salt and pepper
■ Microgreens to serve


Method:
1. Cook the pasta as per pack instructions in a saucepan of simmering salted water. Drain and keep aside until needed.
2. In the meantime, over medium heat, add the olive oil and chicken to a saucepan. Season well.
3. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the onion, garlic, courgette and thyme. Saute for an extra 3-4 minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. Add the white wine, cream cheese, and sage to the pan. Stir, cover with a lid and bring to simmer for 8 minutes until the chicken pieces are fully cooked.
5. Add the frozen peas and simmer for a further 2 minutes until cooked. Finally, stir the cooked pasta into the chicken mixture.
6. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve the sage and chicken pasta with some microgreens and a little extra fresh sage.

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Gremolata

Gremolata

Gremolata

TOP TIP: ADD A ‘LATA THIS GREEN SAUCE TO MAKE PASTA DISHES EVEN TASTIER

GREMOLATA is my go-to if you are looking to add a bit of extra flavour to homemade meals.
It gives a tasty herby kick to dishes such as stews, as well as pasta.
You only need three ingredients and it can be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.
In a bowl, combine 1 lemon, peeled and finely diced, with 2 garlic cloves, also finely diced, and 4-5 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper and add one tablespoon of oil and it’s ready to enjoy.

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