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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Insalata della casa & rigatoni con ragu alla bolognese (house salad & rigatoni bolognese meat sauce)

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

One of the most fun and rewarding experiences I have encountered since launching Carlos’ Food & Wine has been the wonderful partneships made. As I always say, partnerships are everything…indeed they are.

My friends at Kobrand Wine and Spirits along with their online digital daily publication, have partnered with qb cucina (, a site that helps home cooks master the art of Italian food by pairing authentic recipes, insider guides, and community forums with artisan-made cooking tools.

(Photo courtesy of

q.b. is an acronym commonly used in Italian recipes. These two little letters stand for quanto basta, meaning “as much as needed.” It’s often used to indicate that there is no set amount of say, salt, in a recipe—it’s up to you to decide based on your personal taste!

At q.b. cucina, founder Sarah Ubertaccio and her team hope that you nourish your appetite and replenish your kitchen like salt in an Italian recipe: quanto basta, as much as you need.

(qb cucina Founder Sarah Ubertaccio, courtesy of

My friends at Kobrand Wine and Spirits ( recently approached me with a delicious challenge, to create a few new recipes to be featured with some beautifully crafted dishes from qb cucina and to pair the dishes with a fantastic bottle of Chianti Classico - Riserva DOCG.

Clearly an offer I could not refuse!

For this particular posting, I wanted to create two dishes that not only spoke for themselves, but also complemented each other, and of course pair well with a fine Italian wine.

Emulating two comfort food dishes that I grew up with, I opted for a crisp and refreshing simple salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar, as well as a flavorful (and slow-cooked) ragu alla bolognese (a common meat based sauce from Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy).

One thing these two fantastic dishes have in common, other than they pair well with Chianti is that they both require very little ingredients. Trust me, in Italian cuisine, less is always more.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Insalata della casa & rigatoni con ragu alla bolognese.

House salad with romaine, tomatoes, red onions, lemon zest marinated garbanzo beans (chickpeas) with extra Virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Rigatoni pasta with beef (bolognese style) tomato sauce with basil.

Wine pairing: 2018 Tenuta Di Nozzole - Chianti Classico - Riserva DOCG (Chianti, Italy)

Serves 4



  • One bunch of romaine lettuce, cut in coarse pieces

  • Two medium tomatoes, seeded and cut in coarse cubes

  • One medium red onion, thinly sliced in julienne strips

  • One 15.5 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

  • Zest & juice of one lemon

  • 2 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of extra Virgin olive oil

  • 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

  • Shavings of Grana-Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pasta & Sauce:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef

  • 2 large fresh tomatoes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small peeled and finely minced yellow onion

  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves

  • 12-16 fresh basil leaves (save 12 for plate garnish, 3 leaves per plate)

  • sea salt and pepper to taste

  • grated Grana-Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (to add to as desired when eating), save rinds for cooking.

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

  • Rigatoni pasta (1/2 a 16 ounce box feeds approximately 4)

Garnishes: Ricotta cheese and fresh basil leaves.


  • Crusty baguette bread, sliced and lightly toasted and drizzled with extra Virgin olive oil.

  • Additional Grana-Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated).


*Note: I highly recommend you cook the bolognese sauce hours (if not a day before) in advance for maximum flavor.


  • Add the fresh tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  • Add the olive oil to a large pot at low heat. Add in garlic and onion and cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.

  • Add ground beef and cook on medium high heat until lightly browned.

  • Pour in the pureed tomatoes and simmer over low to medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Tip: the longer you simmer it, the better it will taste.

  • After cooking the sauce for at least 30 minutes, add butter, basil and whatever cheese rinds you have. Stir well.

  • Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and continue cooking low and slow until pasta is cooked and you’re ready to serve.

  • Boil water and cook pasta according to instructions.

  • Toss a good portion of the sauce with pasta. Pasta should be nicely coated with the sauce. Save extra sauce to top pasta.


*Note: I highly recommend preparing the salad while the pasta water is boiling and the pasta is cooking.

  • In a small bowl, mix garbanzo beans, lemon zest, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons.

  • In large bowl, mix romaine, tomatoes, onions, toss well and then add marinated garbanzos. Toss again.

  • Add olive oil and red wine vinegar (you might want to add these to taste). Toss well.

  • Transfer to serving bowl or individual plates and top with shaved Grana-Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Serve it up!

These two dishes truly call for family style serving, on big serving bowls being passed around (a few tIke’s too), but as you can see in this posting, they also make for lovely individual portions.

For individual portions, serve salad on a plate and top with fresh shavings of Grana-Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

For the pasta, serve a generous portion of the mixed rigatoni, topping it with some extra meat sauce (not a lot), dropping a dollop (or two) of ricotta cheese on the top middle of the plate and spreading a few hand-torn fresh basil leaves.

*You might want to lightly toast some baguette bread brushed with extra Virgin olive oil for scooping the pasta sauce from your plate, I know I did.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

L’amore passa, la fame no

Love fades, hunger doesn’t

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

L’appetito vien mangiando – a traditional Italian saying, meaning “Eating awakens the appetite”

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento) About the wine…

Nozzole estate consists of 1,000 acres of vineyards at 300 meters in elevation in the Chianti Classico zone.

In order to obtain concentration and complexity in the wine, yields are kept low. The grapes were hand harvested, destemmed and crushed. Fermentation was initiated on the skins in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and maceration lasted 15-20 days.

The wine was racked into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation before aging for 16 months in large Slavonian oak vats followed by a minimum of 3 months in bottle before release.

2018 Tenuta Di Nozzole - Chianti Classico - Riserva DOCG (Chianti, Italy)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: Red berry and cherry aromas and flavors and earthy under notes are shaped by vibrant, fresh acidity and a backbone of a firm yet elegant tannins.

Grapes: 100% Sangiovese

Food pairing: Pairs well with meats, poultry and cheeses.


91 Points Wine Spectator

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Special thanks to Sarah Ubertaccio and her team at qb cucina for the beautifully curated dishes.

For more information, visit:


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo: Hugo Kruip)

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