What do you cook when the person you delight in sharing the pleasures of the table with most isn’t with you? Sardines on toast, baked beans on toast, cheese on toast—you get the idea. I actually lose my appetite when CH isn’t around. The only thing that inspires me to get into the kitchen when he’s away is the prospect of cooking the meals that we will share when he returns. This accounts for the supply of duck leg confit, pork prime rib and Italian sausage stew, and home made stocks crowding our refrigerator and freezer right now. This past week, I had a craving for home made pasta, but going through all that trouble for just one person didn’t make sense given that I was also juggling a bunch of projects at work.

Nonetheless, the prospect of having home made pasta some time in the near future kept me going. I decided to attempt Giuliano Bugialli’s tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese because I love tomato-based pasta sauces, but CH doesn’t (he prefers his sauces cream-laden). Bugialli’s ragù offers a happy marriage of both. It also reminds me of a similar sauce the original chefs at La Smorfia on Purvis Street served in their seafood spaghetti when they first opened (sadly, this great restaurant is now long gone). It also gave me the opportunity to pull out my new KitchenAid meat grinder for a spin. It is truly easy to use as long as you remember to cut the meat into long strips that will fit easily into the feeding chute. Semi-freezing the meat makes it easier to cut into strips and freezing the strips after that also makes grinding them easier.

It took significantly longer to prepare this dish than the spaghetti Bolognese I used to make as a university student (back then, my taste preferences were limited to Dolmio’s), but I must declare that it was well worth the effort. The blend of ground bacon (it was easier to find than pancetta and prosciutto), pork and beef provided a tasty mix of richness, smokiness and subtle meatiness. The long, slow-cooking made it tender and moist. And the inclusion of stock and cream tempered some of the astringency (if one can describe it as that) of the tomatoes in the sauce. In all, it tasted like an enthusiastic welcome home to me. I hope CH thinks so too! (He’s actually standing behind me, reading this over my shoulder, nodding vigorously; he had some for lunch today and he said it was “awesome!”)



About Su-Lyn Tan

Su-Lyn is Aun's better half and for many years, the secret Editor behind this blog known to readers simply as S. Su-Lyn is an obsessive cook and critical eater whose two favourite pastimes are spending time with her three kids and spending time in the kitchen. She looks forward to combining the two in the years to come.


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3 August 2007


I love this post:). My husband travels extensively and I often find myself eating sardines on toast with a thin sliver of lemon (one of my favorite dishes, regardless!) or a salad topped with some almonds and chicken. Next time I find myself solo I hope I am inspired to make such a beautiful dish….it does look awfully tempting.

Thanks for such a great blog, btw. You and CH’s writing is a joy to read, and your photos are gorgeous.

I’ve been making an early recipe of Giuliano Bugialli’s tomato sauce for years. It’s like yours, except that after you evaporate the RED wine, in this case, you add the stock and let that cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Then you add the tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes. It’s amazing how full-flavored the sauce is when you add those ingredients separately, instead of bunging them all in together.

On a different note guess what? Do you wanna play tag, because YOU’RE IT! Click on my site to see the rules and if you want to join in the fun.

I love the humble bolognese, but you make it look so much more special. To my tastes, tagliatelle is the perfect pasta to go with the soppy, meaty pasta. I’m very impressed you went through the effort of fresh pasta when cooking just for one. As if I needed a reminder of why this is one of my favorite blogs. 🙂

Yummy – my ragu recipe has minced pig/chicken liver in it as well for a lip-smacking meatier flavour! My memory of the best ragu I had was Damien’s at the now defunct Soul Kitchen at Purvis Street.

I really enjoyed this post! For me, there’s nothing that says “comfort food” quite like a great Bolognese ragu. My favorite recipe is Marcella Hazan’s in her book “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”, though it takes quite some effort and time. In a crunch, I resort to Mario Batali’s recipe (in “Molto Italiano”) which is as good and *WAY* easier.

hi Gwenda, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I am looking forward to finding a spare moment to prepare it again. I have been nursing a craving for it!

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