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Massimo Bottura, whose name has been on a shelf high-up in my mental library for some time now, has resurfaced in my mind. The ladder that brought me to pull his creativity and philosophies from that top shelf and into my hands was outstretched before me by a relative’s mother in law. As we discussed our own, personal recipes, she mentioned Bottura when we reached the classic ragù alla bolognese discussion. “Do you use ground meat or chunks?” “Red or white wine?” or “Tomatoes, paste, or neither?” She told me about Bottura’s rendition of the classic ragù and recommended I try it. I looked it up and found this, and made it quite recently. The result was remarkably different than my usual ragù made with ground meat. The taste was stronger and richer, the sauce thicker and clinging to the pasta the way it is supposed to… A true marriage between sauce and pasta.

The notion of reforming traditional cuisine onto the modern plate brings up an interesting question: Is it wholly possible to retain traditional culinary value in a rendition of any dish originating several generations ago? Gastronomic tradition evolves with changes in ingredients, advancements in culture and in the flux of people in and out of a certain area. 

ragù 1

Ragù before mincing the chunks of meat.

ragù 2

The ragù after chopping up the chunks of meat and letting it cook for a few more hours.