Eggs Cooked in Ragú and Our New Bête Noire

eggs in ragu
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.

27 thoughts on “Eggs Cooked in Ragú and Our New Bête Noire

  1. “breakfast staple of eggs in hell” — too damn funny! I had the same basic feeling when Food & Wine announced that peasant/comfort food was hip again. I love that people want to eat that way again, but I would hate to be thought of as a bandwagon-hopping trendster 🙂

  2. Whoa – I had to pull out my dictionary for this post! Damn, you Brits know how to give good fancy-talk!

    Love, love, love poached eggs and then you go and simmer it in the deathmatch winning ragu – *licks the screen* – I need it now!

  3. Sluttishness? I like HUSSY! My family’s beeing poaching eggs in a “makalo” for ages and it’s a roux with paprika and, tomato & water…sublime.

    I, for one look to blogs for food inspriration…not from a magazine run by a snot-nosed kid who just ate Boston Pizza at their desk.

  4. Well, now — these look positively superb.
    And your post cracked me up. Food trends really trip me out sometimes. I’m pleased to say that we’ve also been making a similar egg dish (eggs poached in harissa spiked tomato sauce) for years as well… and, likewise, we didn’t need BA to tell us to do it 🙂

  5. Here I was thinking that my recent love of egg dishes had something to do with the fact that Sir Pickypants’ widdle tum tum can’t handle too many meats, I get tired of chicken, and I need some new ideas for proteins.

    It turns out I was following a trend – and I don’t even read Bon Appetit!

  6. Eh, I’ve been topping everything with a fried or poached egg for while, too, but for two reasons: 1) egg yolk is nature’s gravy and makes everything better and 2) people are defenseless against the sight of drippy, perfectly-cooked eggs and my traffic spikes sharply when I get an egg on tastespotting or foodgawker. Not coincidentally, my best photos are of brunch, because of daylight (and eggs).

  7. Giff – i’m glad there is a blogosphere out there of understanding folk. I felt as i was writing this that i was just being a snob!

    Peter – makalo, eh? I knew a greek guy in college and the only words he taught me were (spelling is of course wrong) ella malaka. that’s the not the same thing, right?

    jen – we like to keep our readers on their toes and to give an all-round rewarding experience in both gastronomy and linguistics…!

    lo/ts/rachel – makes me you feel like they’re copying you at BA, huh? where are our royalties, bitches?

    Heather – know exactly what you mean about the drippy egg as well as the daylight. We never make it on those photo sites because all our pics are taken in our lightless apartment under yellow electric bulbs, except on the odd occasion we cook breakfast foods and it’s still light outside.

  8. It’s funny to see that many things that are considered trendy are a staple of certain cuisines. In Mexico we like to dress our foods with eggs all the time, yup we eat eggs at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are good for you! Hehe. Great idea with the Ragu sauce.

  9. OK you guys I recognize the Norcini-Norcia labels above- I believe it could be a family name– Anyway, I LOVE eggs too and I am glad that the misconception is cleared up That eggs are harmful in terms of cholesterol–It has been proven false-YAY

  10. Olé tus huevos!!!! He, he, they surely look gorgeouslydelicious :D. Did I invent a new word? We are eggs-eaters no matter how they are done… but still have to try your way. I bet one baguette is not enough for that sinful sauce!!!
    Happy New 2009 darlings!

  11. Why it was just the other day that I remember requesting some salmon rillettes with an egg on top on this very blog, and here you are blaring my awesome idea all over the internets. The nerve of you people.

    Hey, I’ll be in town for a few days next week; fancy an adult beverage?

  12. Oh you are so modest, we all know that it was indeed j and A who invented eggs themselves.
    You really make me laugh.
    Nice recipe, duly noted, I am a sucker for this kind of eggy feast especially with a slow slow cooked ragu.

  13. Sounds lovely. I like savory foods, including savory breakfasts, so this would definitely be a wonderful way to break the fast for me!

    I think eggs are one of the most photogenic foods. Neat photos.

  14. I’ve only made Tex-Mex “eggs in hell,” Johnny. Where have I been? This dish is just what I’m looking for: easy, tasty, and stick-to-your-bones (I’m on a “building” phase in my workout). I better be careful I don’t get all Hulk-like though. 😉

  15. It is funny how some people view items as “chi-chi” or new but they’ve been around for ages. Both my mother and my husband’s mother cooked eggs in ragu all the time. When I was first married and trying to economize, I’d use chicken livers and gizzards in the ragu, then drop in the egg. Sometimes we’d leave the eggs intact, sometimes we’d scramble. I haven’t made it in years, but your post has given me inspiration to make it again.

  16. Your drippy sarcasm kills me. I love you guys.

    I can recall scanning through a food magazine whom shall not be named last summer and reading a readers comment about the ‘fun new trend’ of eating locally, and I just about fell off my chair in disbelief. It just about knocks my eyeballs out to see what ages old traditions, ways and means that some people seem to think of as new and trendy, and how willingly everyone is to jump on its bandwagon. Maybe I should rename my blog Kate’s Un-Trendy Kitchen. And I love the egg/ragu mix. It makes me sad that my spouse hates eggs.

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