A kitchen in Lockdown: Il Ragù di Casa Mia

April 1, 2020

I woke up this morning thinking that this could possibly be the most complex and well organized April Fool joke, but no.

It is not a joke. 


It's the 4th week of lockdown in Italy. I go out only for necessary things (like food and bank) and then, nothing.


Now, we live in the country and here we can go out in the yard, or just outside the door at no risk, we just stay around the house anyway.

Mario is making me polay tennis (never touched a racket in my life) on the road in front of our house, and it is fun..


Well, I guess it is fun to look at me hitting randomly the ball in odd directions, the times that I actually hit the ball, or running (I use this term loosely) behind the ball I just missed.


The other day my beloved Imola, 86yo neighbour, stopped mid road while going to feed her chickens to look at me and even though smiling, moved on shaking her head.


One thing that keeps me intertained are my dogs.


 Little Scheggia, 15 yo is a little cross between a fox terrier and a...a...I don't know what. 

I feel he thinks we are stupid and not self sufficient, so he has taken upon himself to bring food, stealing mainly bread from neighbours in at least two different occasion, once he brought a can of beans (true story).


I wake up as Scheggia barks at the door.


We are not sure of what he sees, I personally think he has canine alzheimer and sees ghosts, but at the end we just follow his orders and alternatively open or close the main door to let him out or in depending on his position. After 3 seconds he is out, he barks to get in.

10 seconds later, he forgets that he is already gone out so he starts again... The other day we counted: he did this 27 times in 3 hours... And Mario now is officially Scheggia's butler.


My other pups are  Carmela 4yo rescued pitbull from Napoli and Ciro 2yo white labrador. As Carmela is a shy reserved dog, Ciro is noisy, intrusive, happy and messy. We let them out in the morning, and their favourite thing to do, aside of eating, chasing one another and any bird that happen to hover in the yard, barking at anything that moves in the neighbours garden, is looking at the window, have a peak at the inside of our bedroom. They just stay there, like this for a while, until one of us gets off bed and feeds them. Most of the times we wake to this.

 Lockdown is not easy, the very notion of our impossibility to go out for fun, see our friends and grab a coffee at a bar, is hard to swallow.


The economical side of this crisis, what we are sacrificing for the good of all, is not a minor problem.


I know that I will be jobless for the next months to come(consider supporting via PayPal). but again, there is a general knowledge that this is for the best outcome and the more we abide to the law, the faster we'll get on track.


I am trying to look at the good side to it.

My family, my kids, my dogs, Mario most of all, but also my country and its people, we are in this togheter. There must be a good side to it.

I have the feeling that we will come out better, with a different understanding of what's really important in life.


I just hope that this enormous sacrifice will bring something good.


On the other hand, here is my Ragù


Now, there are over 2000 codified recipes of ragù in Italy, this is a mix between a Tuscan Ragù a Bolognese one and what my mom taught me while growing up.


Aside of the parsley, she would cringe at it, Mom, forgive me. For I have added parsley to it.

 Il Ragù di Casa Mia:


Serving : 6 -8

Preparation time: min 20

Cooking Time : min 3 hrs (min)




• 300gr/10,5oz ground beef medium lean

• 2 medium size pork sausages (Italian, no fennel)

• 800gr/28oz peeled crushed tomatoes

• 1 glass red wine

• 1 celery stalk

• 1 small carrot

• ½ medium sized onion

• 1 handful of chopped parsley

• 4-5tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil,

• Salt



Wash, peel and chop in small pieces the carrot, celery, onion, and parsley.


In a skillet pour a good quantity of Olive oil, and add all the chopped vegetables, put it on medium/low flame, so to cook all slowly, this could take a while, the point we want to reach is when the carrots are done but still firm. Do not add salt.


When in the pan you see no juices, but just clear oil, add the meats and separate well, stir occasionally.

Let the meats juice, slowly let cook, still at medium low, stirring occasionally, let the excess of water evaporate and reduce.

Now raise the flame and after few minutes, add the wine, deglaze and let reduce.


When in the pan, again, you see no juices, but just clear oil, add the crushed tomatoes, let pick the boil and semi cover with a lid, lower the flame to a minimum and let cook for about 3 hrs, simmering, stirring occasionally.


At 2 and half hours, adjust with salt.


When the sugo is ready, pour a couple of ladles on a bowl or in a large enough skillet, and pour the pasta AL DENTE and just drained – toss it troughly and plate it, serve more sauce on top.


Cheese and pepper are optional.


Buon Appetito


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