Using up the summer glut - a recipe for ragu stuffed marrows

by Silvana de Soissons16th August 2014

At this time of year farm shops, allotments and kitchen gardens abound with big, fat juicy marrows. One of my favourite ways of cooking them is stuffed with ragu alla bolognese and topped with a creamy, grated cheese.

This week I have been cooking with Godminster Vintage Cheddar, made from organic milk in Bruton, Somerset, The cheese is matured for 12-14 months following a traditional 80 year old recipe and double waxed in either heart or round truckle shape. It tastes delicious raw, on their handmade digestive or water biscuits, but comes into its own when melted and crisped up in the oven.

Ragu Stuffed Marrow

Ingredients to serve 4 people

1 large marrow, washed and the ends trimmed

1 Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe below

A big handful of grated Godminster cheddar cheese

A big handful of flat leaved parsley, finely chopped

Method

First make the Ragu as described in the recipe below. Set aside somewhere warm. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cut the marrow lengthways in half, then scoop the insides, as if creating a shallow boat with closed sides {see the first photograph on the right}. Discard the insides of the marrow, and place the two boats on an oiled baking dish.

Stuff the marrow with the ragu sauce, then sprinkle grated cheese and parsley on top.

Bake the marrow in a pre-heated oven for an hour, until the cheese has melted and crisped, golden brown. Set aside somewhere warm for a few minutes, then slice and serve.

Ragu alla Bolognese

Ingredients to serve 4 people

60 g. of unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil
60g. of unsmoked pancetta or unsmoked streaky bacon
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
400g. of mince meat from chuck steak or braising beef
1 heaped tbsp.. Concentrated tomato paste or puree
150ml. Red wine, San Giovese or Barbera
Freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper
150 ml. of chicken stock
150 ml. of milk

Method

1. Firstly prepare all the ingredients in front of you in little bowls. Weigh and measure everything you will need. Finely chop the soffritto ingredients, the onion / celery / carrot / pancetta / garlic.

2. In a very large pan, heat the butter with a little olive oil. Cook the pancetta for just a few minutes, stirring well. Add the soffritto vegetables, and stir well. Add the bay leaf, a little seasoning, and just enough water in the pan to create a little steam. Cover with a cartouche of baking parchment, and cook the mixture gently for about 10 minutes. All the ingredients should soften.

3. Add the minced meat and cook over medium heat until it is crisp and brown. You want the meat to brown, not to stew, so keep stirring, and make sure the heat is high.

4. Add the tomato paste, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Then add the wine, and evaporate the alcohol over high heat.

5. Add the stock, the freshly grated nutmeg, a drop of milk and some sea salt and pepper. Bring the heat down to a gently simmer. Stir well, and leave the mixture to cook for about 2 hours. The lid of the pan should be askew. Keep adding more milk, little by little and stirring. At the end of the cooking time you will have a very rich, creamy meat sauce. Extra sauce can be kept in clean, sterilised jars till needed, or frozen in tupperware containers. 

 

About the Author

Silvana de Soissons is the founder of The Foodie Bugle Shop and its journal. You can follow her on Twitter @SilvanadeS and @TheFoodieBugle.

 
 
The cooked ragu sauce and cheddar cheese in bowls, with the scooped out marrow boats.

The cooked ragu sauce and cheddar cheese in bowls, with the scooped out marrow boats.

Godminster Vintage Cheddar Cheese.

Godminster Vintage Cheddar Cheese.

The marrow boats are stuffed, topped with cheese and parsley and ready to go into the pre-heated oven.

The marrow boats are stuffed, topped with cheese and parsley and ready to go into the pre-heated oven.

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.

Extra ragu sauce can be kept in clean, sterilised jars till needed.

Extra ragu sauce can be kept in clean, sterilised jars till needed.