My last meal in Naples was a simple pasta lunch at a little family run restaurant down near the docks. A seemingly long week of never ending wine and superb food had left the palate and body somewhat jaded and tired, so I didn’t pay much attention to the dish let along photograph it (as I would normally), but I do recall how tasty the sauce was. I also thought at the time how little meat and sauce was served over the pasta. At home I would have smothered some penne with plenty of mince and lashings of tomato laden sauce but here it was spartan, but rather delicious in it simplicity and, I expect, glorious in its peasant origins.
This recipe, Ragù alla Napolenta, isn’t the dish I had in the nameless restaurant but is pretty close to a dish from the region. If I read my scribbled notes correctly, the pasta should be dressed with the sauce as a first course with the meat served after, with just a little more sauce, as the next course.
The joint of beef used was a rolled beef brisket, one of Waitrose’s forgotten cuts that just happen to be several pounds cheaper than regular joints. This method of cooking left the meat wonderfully moist and superbly tasty. There was plenty of sauce remaining and, liquidised, made for a flavour packed base for a minced beef sauce.
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