The Cardinal's Ragł
(Ragł per i Maccheroni Pasticciati)
MAKES 2 1⁄2 CUPS
According to Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table (William Morrow, 1992), this flour-thickened, cinnamon-enhanced sauce, which was first cooked for the cardinal of Imola in the 18th century, is a "cross between a classic ragł alla bolognese and a 20th-century French brown sauce".
2 tbsp. lard
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1⁄4 lbs. skirt steak, cut into a 1⁄4" dice
4 1⁄3 cups beef broth
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
2 tbsp. flour
1. Heat lard and butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and skirt steak; cook, stirring constantly, until steak is well browned, 15–20 minutes.
2. Heat broth in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; keep hot. Add cinnamon to steak–onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Add 1⁄2 cup broth to saucepan and reduce heat to medium; scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Simmer until evaporated, 8–10 minutes. Add another 1⁄2 cup broth; simmer until sauce is almost dry, 8–10 minutes more. Add another 1⁄2 cup broth and the flour, stirring until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add remaining broth; bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender and sauce is thick, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
3. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Toss with fresh tagliatelle or the pasta of your choice. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.