The Cardinal’s Ragù
(Ragu per i Maccheroni Pasticciati)
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 ragu alla bolognese and a 20th-century French brown sauce”.
- 2 Tbsp. lard
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄4 lb. skirt steak, cut into a 1⁄4″ dice
- 4 1⁄3 cups beef broth
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- Homemade Tagliatelle
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.