Pappardelle with chestnut and beef ragu
• 400g pappardelle pasta
• 300g fatty beef, minced
• 20 chestnuts
• 2 tbsps tomato purée
• 1 large onion, peeled and very finely diced
• 1 large carrot, peeled and very finely diced
• 1 celery stalk, very finely diced • 120g Parmesan, grated
• Small glass of red wine • Cinnamon, ground
• Knob of butter
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
① Score each chestnut lengthways on one side only with the tip of a sharp knife. Scatter them in a roasting tray and put into an oven pre-heated to 200°C. Remove after 20mins, when they have turned darker brown and the split skins are curling back on themselves. Allow to cool. Peel the nuts, discard the skins and break the fleshy kernels into rough pieces. Set aside.
② Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a large pan. Gently sauté the diced onion, carrot and celery on a medium heat for 10mins until soft, translucent and glossy. Make sure nothing burns or sticks. Turn down the heat if necessary. Add the minced beef and stir until the meat has broken up and is nicely browned. Add the wine and, as soon as it starts to bubble, turn down the heat to a low setting and add the tomato purée and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
③ Now, carefully scatter a tspn or two of ground cinnamon evenly over the sauce and stir. Add the pieces of chestnut and stir. Make sure the heat is as low as possible, cover and simmer for around 40mins, stirring occasionally, making sure the sauce does not dry out.
④ Towards the end of the sauce’s cooking time, put the pappardelle into a large pan of salted boiling water. If using fresh pasta, cook for 3–4mins; if dried, according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water and tip the pappardelle into the pan with the sauce and the knob of butter. Mix together well. Use a little of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce, but only if necessary. Stir in all the Parmesan and serve.