It’s a truism of my life that some of the more sickening feelings of depression are experienced immediately after the most smugly satisfying. But, I think this maxim applies almost universally when that wonderful sensation of happiness in having discovered the perfectly authentic tapas bar turns to acrid bitterness and choking rancor as a bloated family in sweatsuits and fanny-packs strolls in and orders a round of virgin mai-tais.
Such was my mood then upon reading the latest issue of the magazine that is quickly overtaking Rachel Ray as WANFs bête noire. You see, the January edition of Bon Appetit focuses on what is calls “the new trend” of everything a cheval, or mounted by an egg, as it were, and quite apart from having spent a good part of our 2007-2008 oeuvre (pun intended) posting recipes and photos of various foods dressed in this way, we, quite pathetically perhaps, like to think of ourselves as in the comparative culinary vanguard and hate to be thought of as simply following a BA trend. So, before we go on, I would like to state, in no uncertain terms, that we not only made the subject of this post dish in October (towards the end of our self-indulgent egg sluttishness), but that our posting this now is influenced in no way by the food magazine zeitgeist.
With that off my chest, allow me to introduce to you one of the most wonderful ways of cooking eggs – uova in ragú, or eggs in a Bolognese sauce. Not to be confused with the well-known Tex-Mex breakfast staple of eggs in hell, this is essentially a Bolognese sauce version of the Tuscan classic Uova e Spinaci Cotti alla Fiorentina which we posted during aforementioned egg-focused period. And, not only does it allow one to indulge a fetish for eggs and meat, but the visual contrast on your plate of the white and yellow of the egg against a reddish-brown background of ragú is one to please children of all ages, even those in their 30s.
Less research than we typically do suggests that this is not an authentic Bolognese dish, and in fact, our inspiration came from a menu item - Uova al Pomodoro (eggs baked in a marina sauce) - at a small local trattoria called Apertivo. Nevertheless, we feel that it should definitely sit among the greats in the canon of Emilia-Romagna cuisine, utilising as it does the king of sauces, the ragú.
The main key to success, then, in this stupidly simple dish, apart from some (forgive the pun) good eggs, is clearly the quality of your ragú, so we strongly encourage you to read at least some of the marathon post that is A Tale of Two Sauces: It’s A Traditional Ragú Bolognese Deathmatch from last year to get a sense of the time, effort and joy involved in creating this wonderful thing. Then, once made (and you will have plenty leftover), simply add sauce to a large saucepan, heat until simmering, and crack in as many eggs as you like (two per person seems about right). Then, either cover with pan lid and reduce heat to medium-low, or slap the whole thing into a 350F (180C) oven and bake until eggs are firm, about fifteen minutes. It can be served over pasta (think pappardelle or tagliatelle) or simply as a main course with some bread and salad on the side. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be upset if I was served this for breakfast either.