19th Century Tagliatelle and Beef Stew


Welcome! Today we prepare a delicious tagliatelle dish from a 19th-century Neapolitan cookbook, La Cucina Casereccia (homemade cooking) of Francesco Moffo, an amazing source for the early 19th-century Italian cuisine.
How you will see, the sauce for this pasta is the gravy of a beef stew. This is common in 19th-century recipes: the ragu sauce we know is a more recent habit in Italian cooking.
It is not an everyday dish, because of its complexity, but it is worth the time. The video shows you all the steps for the preparation, and below, you will find the original recipe with the translation.
Enjoy your meal!


For the stew
800 gr beef
1 onion
1 tomato
1 thick slice of prosciutto
red wine
black pepper
sea salt

For the pasta
300 gr re-milled durum-wheat semolina
2 eggs
sea salt

Tagliatelle 2.jpg

We start preparing the stew. Cut one third of the prosciutto into pieces two centimeters long, and dice the remaining. We will use it for the soffritto. Now, mince the lardo finely.
Remove the silver skin from the beef and make holes into it for inserting the longer parts of prosciutto. Now, stick a few cloves into the meat.
Chop the parsley and cut the onion, then grind the pepper in the mortar.
Boil the tomato in water for a few seconds and take it out when the skin begin breaking. Peel and dice it.
Now we can start cooking the stew. Melt the lardo in a hot pan, then add the prosciutto. After a few seconds, put the onion and let it wilt, then add the parsley, black pepper and a little quantity of salt. Brown the beef in the soffritto and add the tomato and the wine. Cook the meat for about four hours, pouring broth to prevent the stew from drying.

While the stew cooks, prepare the pasta. Knead the flour with the eggs and a pinch of sea salt, at least for 15 minutes, until reaching a smooth consistency. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if it is not thick enough, use a little quantity of flour. Now, roll the dough on the working table making a thin sheet of pasta, then cut into tagliatelle (we suggest to watch the video for this step).

Tagliatelle 3

When the stew is almost ready, add rosemary twigs and let them cook for five minutes, then remove them. Now, take the stew off the fire and cut the meat.
Cook the tagliatelle in salted water. The cooking time depends on the flour you used and how hard was the dough. The pasta needs to be al dente. Now, drain the tagliatelle and toss them in the pan with the sauce.
Plate the pasta adding grated cheese (we suggest using Parmigiano, pecorino or another hard cheese). Serve accompanied with the stew.

Tagliatelle 1


Note about ingredients and method
Lardo is cured pork fatback. It is widely used in the Middle Ages and in the modern-day dishes of some Italian regions. Like prosciutto, it is rather salty: we suggest adding just a pinch of sea salt and possibly adjusting the saltiness later, tasting the dish during the cooking.
At present, parsley is added at the end of cooking. In the cookbooks of the 19th century, it is a part of the soffritto.
We chose to add the wine during the cooking and not at the end, as the author suggests.
The author calls any kind of pasta maccheroni. For this recipe, you can give to your pasta the shape you prefer. You can also buy fresh pasta made with eggs to save time.
You can use the flour you prefer, but if you use semolina flour, the pasta will be better.

Tagliatelle 4.jpg

Original recipe
Ragù di vacca, o di vitello.
Si stecca la carne con lardelli di presciutto, e con garofani, e si mette a cuocere in una cassarola, dove si sarà suffritta la cipolla, e il presciutto, l’erbetta, il sale, il pepe, e il lardo, mettendovi dell’acqua, o del brodo, che sarà migliore, badando di rifonder brodo, quando mancasse, sino alla totale cottura, perché facilmente, le si manca di attenzione, suol prendere cattivo odore, ed occorrendo, si aggiunga anche del grasso. Sarà migliore, se vi si suffriggeranno anche i pomidoro nella propria stagione, ma mondate delle pellicole; e sarà anche ottimo, se quando è vicino a cottura, vi si aggiunga un bicchiere di buon vino, ed alquanto di rosmarino.

Si bollono i maccheroni di qualunque sorta levandogli dal fuoco non molto cotti si scolano bene, si caricano di formaggio vecchio, e di caciocavallo grattato, e si apparecchiano con buon brodo di ragù […]
Impastato il fior di farina con acqua calda, con un poco di sale, e con due uova, se ne farà un sottilissimo sfoglio […]

Sauce of beef or veal.
Lard the meat with prosciutto and cloves; then put it in a pan with a soffritto of onion, prosciutto, parsley, salt, pepper, and lardo. Pour water or broth – it would be better – adding liquid any time the stew dries. The meat could take an unpleasant smell easily without attention. If necessary, add fats. It will be better adding to the soffritto the tomatoes, if they are in season, after removing their skins. The stew will be excellent adding a glass of wine and a good amount of rosemary when it is almost ready.

Boil the pasta of any kind, taking them from the fire when they are not too much cooked. Drain them and coat with old cheese and grated caciocavallo. Serve with a good meat sauce […]
Knead the flour with warm water, a little of salt, and two eggs; then, make a thin sheet of pasta.