Zio Antonio is my only Uncle to have remained in Vietri di Potenza, Italy, bringing up his family. For many years he parked his trusted three-wheeled Ape van in front of my grandparents’ house, taking it each morning to his garden plot and bringing it back by lunchtime.
As a very special treat, he would allow my cousins and I to have a ride in the Ape around the village. One of my most favourite memories is sitting amongst ears of sweetcorn, boxes of tomatoes and carafes of wine, buzzing through the streets with the wind in my hair.
This is a traditional pork bolognese recipe with one of his favourite kinds of pasta: rigatoni.
455g (1lb) rigatoni pasta * 2 tbsp olive oil * 30g (1oz) butter * 1 garlic clove, finely chopped * 1 onion, finely chopped * 1 celery stick, finely chopped * 1 carrot, finely diced * 255g (9oz) lean minced pork * 1 tsp dried basil * 220ml (7floz) red wine such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo * 395g (14oz) passata * 1 chicken stock cube * 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped * salt & pepper * grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil and butter in a deep pan adding the garlic, onion, celery and carrot, stirring well. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat add the minced pork and the basil, stirring constantly until cooked. Add the red wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the passata. Crumble up the stock cube into the passata container and add in a small amount of hot water, enough to dissolve it and swill around the container. Add it to the pan. Add salt & pepper, partially cover and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
Keep checking and adding some water as required to make a thick sauce. Add in the parsley. Cook the rigatoni pasta for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir well. Serve in warmed pasta bowls.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.