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What Can I Use Instead Of Pancetta In The Rapid Ragu?

Asked by Jayadarshini. Answered on 9th December 2021

Full question

What can I use instead of pancetta in the Rapid Ragu recipe? My husband does not eat pancetta and I am looking for a replacement in the recipe.

Rapid Ragu
Photo by Lis Parsons
Rapid Ragù
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Rapid Ragu (from NIGELLA EXPRESS) is a speedy bolognese-style sauce that can be eaten as a comforting bowlful on its own, or served with vegetables, pasta, rice or couscous. The flavour is boosted with pancetta, caramelised onions and Marsala, rather than relying on long, slow cooking.

Pancetta is cured pork belly, similar to lardons and bacon. If you can't use these then you can add an extra tablespoon of oil to the pan at the beginning, to brown the minced lamb. Then add a tablespoon of tomato puree (tomato paste) and a tablespoon of finely chopped black olives, or olive tapenade when you add the tomatoes and lentils at step 3. As pancetta provides some saltiness you may like to taste the ragu before serving it and season, if necessary.

Sardine Spaghetti

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