Because of all the free time I have at home due to our quarantine, I've been making beautiful food that no one will see except my starving husband who doesn't care how it looks.
Here is a really fantastic Ragu recipe that you can present beautifully to friends once lockdown is over or just mix it all up with the rigatoni and shove it in your mouth.
For the Béchamel
For the torta di rigatoni recipe
Sauté the bacon, celery, onion and carrots together in a large saucepan with a thin layer of butter. Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables soften.
Brown the meat in a separate pan with 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat, crumbling it with a spoon. After about 5 minutes, add it to the vegetable mix, pour in the wine, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, add the tomato paste and bouquet garni and cover everything with the boiling broth. Cook gently for at least 2 1/2 hours, adding a couple of ladles of broth from time to time, if it becomes too dry.
At the end, add the milk and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, add about a 1/2 cup of the ragu to the eggs and give a quick whisk. Add another 1/2 cup and mix again. (you don't want the eggs to cook in the hot ragu) Now add egg mixture back into ragu and stir well.
For the Béchamel
First, prepare the roux: melt the butter, add the flour stirring with a whisk, and season with salt and nutmeg.
Bring the milk to a boil, pour in the roux and, stirring constantly, cook for 4-5 minutes, until the bechamel is glossy and thick.
For the torta
Boil the rigatoni (drain them 1 minute before the instructions on the package), being careful not to break them. You want them to be able to stand up in the mold and not over coked.
Arrange the rigatoni vertically in a hinged mold (9 1/2 inch cheesecake mold) buttered on the bottom and the edges. Spread the ragù on the rigatoni. Gently press and move the ragu around attempting to fill the rigatoni with the sauce. Then pour the béchamel on top of the Ragu. Add some soft butter and grated Parmigiano cheese on top of that.
Bake at 375°F in oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the surface has a nice golden crust.
Let Rigatoni rest for about 10 minutes before removing the mold. Use a sharp knife around the edge to help unstick the pasta.
The reason for all of this effort is for the beautiful presentation of the vertical pasta. If you don't have the time or energy for all of this, the ragu is really delicious even if you just mix it all up in the rigatoni. The sauce recipe is a keeper!