Ragu, salsa and sugo.
Three different words that in Italy sometimes are used interchangeably among them. The most of them go with pasta but they are made with different ingredients and they have different texture and cooking.
The Italian expression ragù is derived from the French ragout. Italian ragù is a thick stew of meat, poultry, fish or vegetables cooked in a sauce, usually tomato.
Ragù implies that the sauce has to be reduced and the ingredients are usually cooked for a long time (for instance, the famous salsa alla bolognese is a ragù). The resulting sauce is used to dress pasta, polenta or rice.
But it works well also to make crostini (slices of warm bread served as antipasto or aperitivo). In Italy exists also ragù in bianco (white ragù): it’s a version without tomato sauce.
A salsa (sauce), is a semi liquid-to-liquid raw or cooked sauce that’s used as a condiment for pasta and sometimes, again, is used to make crostini. It can be made with simple tomato purèe or including whole fresh tomatoes and some other ingredients. The most famous Italian salsa is salsa di pomodoro (or passata di pomodoro).
Sugo derives from succo (juices), and refers to a general term that indicates a fluid sauce.
I hope you find useful this short introduction to the rich in tastes world of Italian ragù, salse and sughi.
Via Emilia is a sugo recipe for pasta and crostini.
It’s a taste of Spring. It’s all I love since I was a child: genuine tastes of my region.
Why Via Emilia? Via Emilia is one of the most important consular Roman roads that marked a whole territory: Emilia Romagna region. Via Emilia, in one word means identity for people of the region where Bologna is capital.
If I entitled my recipe Via Emilia is because I used only typical ingredients of my region.
If you like to know something more about the ingredients I used, on the bottom of the post, find a short description of them.
Something about what I love
I love sughi for pasta, above all sughi that can be used to make crostini also.
What I do always with ragù bolognese leftovers. And it’s what I did with Via Emilia sugo recipe.
I developed this recipe step by step, making many attempts till I was entirely satisfy of its taste and texture. First of all, I used sugo to flavor a garganelli pasta dish. With leftover I made crostini. My friends approved both options and I have chosen the second to partecipate at my first ever live cooking competition. It has been my first time in a professional setting and in front of spectators. Furthermore I have had the unique opportunity to cook at Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna.
I was thrilled and it has been a fun and great experience at the same time. And, incredibly, I won the competition. And this so wow! The cooking competition was part of the CIBÒ SO GOOD event: a whole weekend celebration of the Italian food excellences.
Buona cucina, Monica
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@ if you make crostini, don’t miss to decorate with one parmigiano crumb, one prosciutto crudo (ham) di Parma match and one 1/2 asparago head. Finish with fresh lemon peel grated.
@ if you make pasta, don’t miss to grate fresh organic lemon peel just before to serve.
Via Emilia: a Sugo Recipe
Asparagus, 180 g
Prosciutto di Parma, 75 g (cut in 2 slices)
Romagna shallot, 1 or 2
Parmigiano Reggiano grattugiato, 10 g + 1 tablespoon
Antica Acetaia Villa Bianca Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons
olive oil, 30 g + ½ tablespoon
Sea salt to taste
Grated peel of ½ organic lemon
Clean asparagus. Slice the heads off the asparagus spears and set aside.
Boil in unsalted boiling water asparagus stalks. Drain, set aside 2 stalks and blend the others with 10 g of grated parmigiano reggiano, olive oil til the cream is soft and smooth. Set aside.
Boil heads of the asparagus in unsalted boiling water for 1 minute, drain gently and set aside.
Clean and cut finely the shallot. Sauté in a pan with a little of olive oil. Set aside.
Cut ham in thin sticks (I use my kitchen scissors) and cook them with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar in the same pan, cook on medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.
Make parmigiano wafer. Put 1 tablespoon of grated parmigiano in a non-stick pan and spread as to make a wafer. Cook on medium heat for 1 and 1/2 minutes, till starts to change color. Pay attention, use kitchen pincers to put the wafer on a plate. While gets cold, gets also crunchy. When it’s cold, make crumbs. Set aside.
Cut in half the heads of asparagus, then cut in thin stick the asparagus’s talks. You’ll use it decorate. Set aside for the moment.
Make sugo. First of all, to decorate you need a little of all ingredients. Keep aside: heads of the asparagus and the stalks cut; some shallot, some ham sticks, some parmigiano crumbs.
In a bowl stir asparagus cream with shallot, ham sticks and crumbs. Add fresh grated lemon peel. Decorate. Serve.