Italian doorman's simple ragu with fiori pasta!
The last Italian restaurant that I worked in was owned by a family from Napoli, Italy. Our standard salsa di pomodoro (tomato sauce) was made with a beef bottom round section or a whole pork shoulder. We would roast the meat and then add it to the tomato sauce as it simmered. We cooked the house tomato sauce in a 30 gallon pot for 5 hours. To give an idea of the meat to sauce proportion, whole pork shoulder looks as small as a piece of bacon in a 30 gallon pot!
After the sauce was done simmering. We would remove the pork shoulder, then hand grind the tomato sauce through a food mill. The pork shoulder was then given to the dishwashers to bring home or discarded. We sometimes used the pork shoulder to make a simple doorman's ragu for an employee meal.
The same thing applied to big pieces of scrap meat that were stewing in a meat broth pot all day. We would pull the meat pieces out of the stock pot to make doorman's ragu. We always placed the bones and vegetables on the bottom of the pot and put the meat pieces on the top when making the meat broth. This made it easier to remove the tender meat from the pot at a later time.
For this style of making doorman's ragu, the fine chopped soffritto vegetables for the ragu were sauteed in a pan. The tender shredded stock pot meat, a little bit of tomato, herbs and some of the freshly made meat broth were added to the tender vegetables. The ragu was simmered slowly, till it was time to feed the employees. Then it was tossed with pasta and served.
This is how a ragu is made in an Italian restaurant for employees or doormen. We never served doorman's ragu to paying customers in any Italian restaurant that I have worked in. Ragu is a very informal meal for home or workers.
Ragu Guardaporta was originally a ragu that was slowly simmered in a pot located in the hotel or palazzo doorman's quarters. The ragu simmered while the doormen were working. Doorman's ragu was a recipe that could be cooked with little or no attention. Any pork, beef, lamb, goat, veal or even horse meat was stewed in the doorman's ragu. Some doormen left the bones on the meat to create a richer broth sauce.
Traditionally, a home style ragu is served with pasta. The word ragu is means the same thing as the French word ragout. Ragu simply translates to stewing with the intent of wetting the appetite with the aroma. Most definitions just say the word ragu means stew, but anyone who has smelled the aroma of a ragu does become hungry and eager to eat!
This Ragu Guardaporta blog recipe is prepared in the same way that we made ragu with meat from a meat broth pot when I worked in a Napolitano style Italian family restaurant.
Meat Broth Recipe:
Place 4 pounds of beef, veal, pork and lamb bones with the meat scraps attached into a large roasting pan.
Add 1 or 2 pounds of large scrap meat chunks. (Tough sections of beef and veal leg are good. Shoulder meat is good too.)
Add 1 pound of coarse soffritto. (Coarse chopped unpeeled carrots, celery and onion.)
Add 5 ounces of tomato paste.
Add 8 ounces of tomato scraps.
Drizzle a little bit of vegetable oil over the meat and bones.
Roast the meat, bones and vegetables in a 350 degree oven, till all the ingredients become caramelized to a dark brown color.
Transfer all of the roasting pan ingredients into a large stock pot, but set the large pieces of scrap meat on the top of the other ingredients in the pot.
Deglaze the bits of fond that are stuck to the roasting pan with water.
Add the deglaze jus to the pot.
Add enough water to cover the ingredients in the stock pot.
Simmer the stock pot ingredients for at least 5 hours over low heat.
Add water as necessary to keep the bones covered.
Meat Scraps For The Ragu Guardaporta:
After the meat cooks tender, follow this step, so the doorman's ragu can be made!
Remove the large meat scraps from the top of the stock pot and place them into a mixing bowl.
Allow the meat to cool.
Remove any gristle, fat, bones or pieces of vegetables from the meat. The meat should be so tender, that it easily shreds and separates into pieces.
Set the 6 to 8 ounces of meat scrap pieces aside for the ragu.
Finishing The Meat Broth:
Pour the meat broth through a strainer into a large container.
Discard the bones, scraps and vegetables.
Skim the grease and fat off of the top of the meat stock.
Cool the meat broth to 70º, within 2 hours time.
Cool the meat broth to minus 41º in a refrigerator in less than 2 hours.
The broth will have a gelatinous texture after it cools. The meat broth can be portioned and the portions can be frozen for later use.
Heat 1 tablespoons of pork lard in a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1/2 cup of a finely chopped soffritto of carrot, celery and onion.
Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Saute till the vegetables just begin to lightly caramelize.
Add 2 cups of the freshly made meat broth.
Add the reserved 6 to 8 ounces of meat from making the broth.
Add 1 bay leaf.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
Add 1 pinch of basil.
Add 3 tablespoons of Imported crushed Italian plum tomato.
Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Slowly simmer the ragu, till the sauce becomes aromatic and reduced to a thin glace consistency.
Just before serving, cook 1 portion of fiori pasta in boiling water, till it becomes al dente.
Drain the water off of the pasta.
Add the pasta to the ragu.
Toss the ragu and pasta together.
Remove the bay leaf.
Place the Ragu Guardaporta on a plate.
Sprinkle a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese on the ragu.
Garnish with a parsley sprig.
Ragu Guardaporta is satisfying and tasty! The fresh meat stock and the roasted and slow simmered meat have such an inviting gentle flavor. I used lamb scrap, beef scrap and pork scrap to make the ragu in the pictures.
Fiori artisan pasta is not a traditional pasta for ragu. Pappardelle pasta is the traditional ragu pasta. Fiori pasta translates to flower pasta. Fiori does look pretty on a plate.
If you notice, the ragu's sauce is very thin and it has the deep rich color of a freshly made meat stock. Be sure to serve some Italian bread at the table, to soak up any of the extra sauce with. Ciao Baby! ... Shawna