Known as il consiero, this mixed meat ragu from Vicenza in Veneto is a really interesting pasta sauce that actually changes with the seasons. In this version, gargati with spring ragu, the sauce is made of lardo (cured pork fatback) and 3 white meats, as well as fresh peas and asparagus! A great spring pasta recipe!
Gargati con il consiero.
There is no actual set recipe for il consiero ragu! This is a pasta sauce that comes from farming and peasant traditions and was invented to use up leftover meats. The mixed meat ragu was enriched with lots of seasonal vegetables.
Originally, il consiero was prepared with a piece of lardo cut into small pieces. Then they added onions or shallots, parsley and other aromatic herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage and even basil when in season) and some leftover meat cuts as well as some tomato concentrate. Over time, other ingredients went into this sauce, always in keeping with the season!
A recipe for all seasons.
In spring, Il consiero was made with white meat, often from the farmyard; such as duck, goose, chicken or turkey. In autumn, they used beef and red meats. And in winter, people preferred meats that were even heavier and more fatty, such as sausages, pancetta and even a few pieces of game.
Vegetables also varied depending on the season. For example, in spring; wild asparagus, cultivated asparagus, peas and wild herbs. In summer; spring onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Whilst in autumn; mushrooms and in winter; late Treviso radicchio and artichokes.
A spring version of gargati con il consiero.
This version of Il consiero, which I have called gargati with spring ragu, is made with lardo, chicken, pork and veal. Nowadays people make this mixed meat ragu recipe with fresh meat. But, I think it can be made with leftover meat too! The veggies I used are fresh peas and fresh asparagus. Both these vegetables are just in season now and are important crops in the area where I live. In fact, I actually have peas growing in my garden. However, this year we planted them late and they won’t be ready till May.
There are many recipes for peas or asparagus here in Veneto. Venetians use them in traditional risotto recipes as well as with pasta. Check out my recipe for fusilli with asparagus and pasta with peas and pancetta. (links below).
The most traditional pasta for this spring ragu, or il consiero, is gargati. This pasta is unique to Veneto and not found in other regions. Gargati is short fresh egg pasta tubes originally made with a hand operated pasta extruder called a bigolaro. The same tool was used to make bigoli, an ancient pasta also particular to the Veneto region and still very popular here. Gargati pasta is less popular but is particularly traditional in Vicenza and Treviso. You can read more about this pasta and the bigolaro on my gargati post.
Of course you can use other pasta for this gargati with spring ragu recipe. Since gargati is pasta tubes, I would suggest using other smallish tubes such as ditali, sedani, elbow macaroni or even penne.
Adjust the recipe to suit you.
Like the people of Veneto, you can also adjust this spring pasta recipe to suit what is available where you live. You can use turkey instead of veal (which can be expensive) and veggies that are seasonal in your part of the world. Instead of lardo (not lard but cured pig fatback) use guanciale or a fatty bacon. The point is to make a ragu that is full of seasonal fare.
If you do try this gargati with spring ragu recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
Other traditional pasta recipes from Veneto on The Pasta Project.
Check out these spring pasta recipes too!
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Gargati with spring ragu (il consiero)
- 400 g gargati pasta (14oz) or other pasta tubes
- 120 g pork tenderloin (4oz)
- 120 g veal tenderloin (4oz)
- 120 g chicken breast (4oz)
- 60 g lardo (cured pork fatback) (2oz) or fatty bacon or guanciale
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot washed and finely chopped
- 500 g fresh green asparagus (17oz)
- 250 g fresh peas (9oz) or 150g frozen (6oz)
- 1 handful fresh herbs ( rosemary, sage, marjoram)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg freshly grated
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 1-2 tbsp tomato concentrate (paste)
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock
- salt for pasta and to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Parmigiano or Grana cheese grated (as required)
- Wash the asparagus and remove the hard end of the stalk. You can do this by gently bending the asparagus and it should break naturally in the right place. Using kitchen string tie the asparagus into bundles of about 8. If using fresh peas shell them.
- Coarsely cut the meats and the lardo into small pieces. Peel and finely chop the onion and shallots. Wash and finely chop the carrot. Wash and chop the herbs. Leave the bay leaves whole.
- Fry the onion, carrot and shallots with the lardo in a little olive oil until everything starts to soften and the lardo starts to melt. Then add the coarsely cut meats, raise the heat and sauté over a high heat until the meat has started to brown.
- Add the chopped herbs, bay leaves, grated nutmeg and sprinkle with a generous splash of wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the tomato paste. If using fresh peas add them now. Mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to a simmer.
- From time to time, pour in small amounts of boiling broth and stir. Let the sauce cook until the meat is soft, about 15-20 minutes. If using frozen peas add them 5 minutes before the end. When the sauce is ready remove the bay leaves.
- Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil
- Cook the asparagus in the boiling pasta water. Remove when cooked (about 5-10 minutes) then add the pasta to the same water and cook al dente according to the instructions on the packet.
- Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce. Serve immediately with whole asparagus or cut the asparagus and mix the pieces into the sauce and pasta. Serve with grated Parmigiano or grana if required.
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If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of my autumn/winter pasta recipes cookbook!?
We Italians always think we’ve got it all figured out when it comes to pasta but then we forget how strictly regional our mindsets are and get bamboozled when we encounter a new type of pasta. This is exactly how I feel whenever I stumble upon a new pasta type on your blog. And please understand I’m saying this in a positive way! Hope I don’t come across the wrong way. What I wanna say is that all my Swedish friends think I’m the ultimate pasta master because I’m Italian, and I do know my fair share of recipes. But I’m also very limited. And I love coming to your blog and learning about new ones, it reminds me how incredibly vast the world of pasta is. This post introduced me to both a new pasta type and a new sauce I had never heard of. And I love it.
Grazie di cuore Eva, high praise indeed! Yes the world of Italian pasta is vast and I love learning about it and then sharing with others! In my journey through the Italian pasta world I have discovered that there are many types and recipes only familiar to the people in the region or part of the country they come from. My Sicilian hubby is constantly surprised by the pasta types/ recipes I make for him or even ask him to give me a hand making! When I started my blog, my goal was to introduce non-Italians to the authentic world of Italian pasta. I never considered that even Italians would be discovering pasta and recipes here too! I think that’s awesome! Baci from Verona!
I love learning how to make new recipes and this dish looks so delicious! I love the combinations of flavours you included and combined together, I cant imagine how good this dish tastes! thank you for sharing this recipe, I cant wait to try it out!
GUNJAN C Dudani says
This is something very new to me. I have never heard of it but looks totally delicious. I am itching to try this ASAP so going out to get the stuffs.
I love learning how other cultures found ways to consume everything. None of their hard-earned ingredients went to waste. This recipe gave me the chance to use up some of the leftover meat that was not enough to feed all of us. The sauce was rich and the vegetables made for a very satisfying dinner.
This is such a great dinner idea and I love how you used multiple proteins. I will be making this easy recipe soon and I know it will be a hit!
Kelly Anthony says
I love how versatile this recipe depending on what is fresh and in season. This is a great way to use all the leftovers in the fridge.
Grazie Kelly! Yes this is a unique recipe. I also love the idea of using leftovers and/or what’s in season any time of the year!
This looks incredible, so hearty!
I love the idea of a versatile pasta recipe that can change with the seasons. And of course I love that it’s a one-pot meal too!
Renee | The Good Hearted Woman says
I love good recipe with seasonal flexibility, and this looks like a great combination of flavors. I really appreciate learning about the origins of this dish, too!
Some of the tastiest recipes come from using up leftovers sometimes, I think and this definitely looks like one of them. Sounds tasty!
Yummy! This looks so perfect for spring. I love asparagus and pasta so I can’t wait to try this.
Carissa Shaw says
So beautiful! This recipe makes me so extra happy because it is finally spring!
Veena Azmanov says
This is surely a treat to my family. Looks too delicious and an amazing Dinner.
Jessica Formicola says
I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit with the whole family! Thanks so much for sharing!
This looks so hearty and delicious! Great way to enjoy spring veggies.
Simple, delicious and so healthy. I absolutely love this. This will be perfect dinner for me and my boys next week. I’m saving this recipe on my weekly menu.
Elizabeth Leaver says
I love recipes that are easily adaptable to what’s in season! This looks wonderfully light and flavourful for Spring. Delicious!
I like how the recipe can easily be adapted to use the vegetables and/or meat that are in season. So versatile, and a good one to have as reference.
Never heard of gargati but it sounds delicious. I enjoyed reading about the history of this dish as well. Very interesting.
Veena Azmanov says
Love the ingredients and combination and flavors to making this amazing dish. Looks delicious.