Thermomix Review: Basil Tagliatelle & Beef Ragu

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Of course I’d heard of a Thermomix. Beloved of chefs everywhere and of many domestic cooks too, this machine comes up in conversations with foodie friends on a regular basis. But there are often gasps of shock when the £800 price tag comes up; that’s a hell of a lot for a single appliance!

So, what is a Thermomix, you might be wondering, and why do so many people swear by it, despite the price tag?

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Thermomix with varoma steamer basket fixed above main jug; internal basket, whisk, spatula and measuring cup/ lid window to side

Well, it’s a bit of a multitasker – it blends, chops, grinds, whisks, kneads, weighs, cooks and steams!

On paper, it sounds as though this single machine could replace a number of others including a jug blender, a food processor, a mixer, a slow cooker, a steamer and a grinder. But what’s it like in practice? To help me find out, I was loaned a Thermomix to put through its paces for a few weeks.

I was invited to attend a demo first, and was impressed to see how quickly the Thermomix could grind a fine flour from rice or hard lentils. I also watched the demonstrator blend solid frozen chunks of fruit into a smooth sorbet and chop, cook and blend vegetables into a tasty soup.

The Thermomix comes with a cookery book called Fast and Easy Cooking which provides recipes specifically written for the Thermomix. That may sound obvious, but actually, we found that the speed settings and durations for the chopping, blending and grinding functions in particular very different from our experiences with our Magimix food processor. Likewise, we needed specifics on temperatures and times for cooking.

As well as full recipes, there’s also a section at the front that gives settings for common tasks such as grinding coffee, making icing sugar from granulated, melting chocolate, grinding grains and spices, making breadcrumbs, grating cheese, peeling and chopping garlic, mincing ginger, whisking egg whites. crushing ice, mincing meat and making almond, soya and rice milk.

For our first meal made using the Thermomix we made basil tagliatelle (using the pasta verde recipe) and ragu bolognese.

 

Thermomix Basil Tagliatelle

Ingredients

The original recipe calls for 300 grams of flour, 3 eggs and 50 grams of basil, enough to serve 6-8.

We scaled it down to a third and started with 100 grams of flour, 1 egg and 20 grams of basil.

Perhaps our flour differed wildly from the flour used by the author of the recipe, but we added almost 100 grams again to bring the mixture together into a dough, and even then it was wetter than ideal.

Method

  • The first instruction called us to blend the flour and basil for 30 seconds at Speed 10.The results remain one of the single most impressive feats of the Thermomix for me; the flour and leaves vanished to be replaced with a fine and evenly ground pale green powder; not even a hint of dark leaf matter was visible and I was genuinely gobsmacked and delighted!

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  • We added the egg and kneaded for 1.5 minutes on the dough setting.

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  • Be warned that the machine moves when it’s kneading and Pete held it down to stop it walking off the work surface! We added extra flour to bring the wet mixture together into a sticky dough and kneaded a little more to incorporate it.

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  • We wrapped the dough in clingfilm and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours before making the tagliatelle.

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  • We used the pasta attachments for our KitchenAid to make the tagliatelle, which we did just as the ragu bolognese was finishing its cooking time, so we could cook the tagliatelle as soon as it was cut.

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  • As with all fresh pasta, it cooked within minutes.

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Thermomix Ragu Bolognese

Ingredients
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic, peeled
50 grams olive oil
450 grams minced meat (ideally half beef and half pork)
50 grams dry white or red wine
400 grams tinned tomatoes or passata
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Small handful of torn basil leaves, washed and dried

Note: The recipe also calls for 80 grams of celery, but since I hate the stuff, we missed it out. We used 500 grams of beef mince, red wine and tinned tomatoes.

Method

  • Put the onion, carrot and garlic into the TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds at speed 7.

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  • Add the oil and cook for 3 minutes at 100 C on Speed setting Spoon using Reverse Blade Direction.

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  • Add the meat and cook for 10 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed setting Spoon using Reverse Blade Direction.

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  • Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed setting Spoon using Reverse Blade Direction until the meat is tender and the sauce is reduced.

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I must admit, I didn’t believe for a moment that such a short overall cooking time would produce a decent result, as the ragu recipes I’ve made in the past have needed several hours of cooking.

But to my surprise, the ragu not only had a lovely and balanced flavour but it was perfectly cooked as well.

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It worked very well indeed with the basil tagliatelle and I thought the finished dish looked beautiful.

So far, so impressed. More posts on our experiments with the Thermomix coming soon.

 

Kavey Eats received a loan machine courtesy of Thermomix. (This is not a sponsored post).

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
17 Comments to "Thermomix Review: Basil Tagliatelle & Beef Ragu"

  1. ThermomixBlogger Helene

    Great job, so well done. Loved your photos, colours, and your enthusiasm. Wish I could be there to share this meal, I can practically taste it from here. What fun! Keep on mixing, can’t wait to see what you try next… 😉

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks Helene, I’ve just been browsing your blog and the great index of recipes! I have mine on loan so making most of it before I must give it back!

    Reply
  2. Nordic Nibbler

    I’ve been lusting after a Thermomix for a while, but £800, yikes! I see them used to great effect in many professional kitchens, although I’ve heard that most TM sales are to domestic users – it seems like a very versatile appliance and ideal for home use.

    How easy do you reckon it is to ‘make up’ your own recipes using it, i.e. without the accompanying recipe book? The three variables of temperature/time/blade speed seem quite specific and looks like it might take some time to get the hang of.

    Looking forward to reading more on your progress with the Thermomix!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    The difficulty for me (and no doubt many others) is that by the time we learn of the Thermomix we have already purchased items such as food processors, jug blenders, slow cookers, and so on. But I think if one buys the Thermomix first, most of these other machines are not necessary. Some still are, of course.

    I think for me, I would definitely need to make quite a few recipes using the instructions provided before I had the feel of the settings to be able to make up my own, though there are blogs of enthusiasts which are full of their own recipes, so it’s clearly something people do, once they master the machine.

    Reply
  3. Steve

    your house must be gadget central!

    Just bought a pressure cooker the other day, do you have any recommendations for that?

    PS can you get a “subscribe to comments” function installed on your blog as I don’t always remember to check back!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It looks like the “subscribe to comments” functionality is available in WordPress but this theme doesn’t include it, so will need to have Pete manually code it in at some point…

    Pressure cooker – mum uses it a lot in Indian cooking, check Mamtakitchen.com for ideas, post in the discussion forum to ask her directly. Also Catherine Phipps has written a book to be released later this year, just on cooking with pressure cookers.

    Reply
  4. mistytwoshoes

    I’m in the process of arranging a demo at my home for a few friends. My Magimix is on its last legs so I thought it might be a good excuse to look at something else. Never have enough room in my freezer to keep a bowl for an icecream maker, have no slow cooker, pressure cooker or simlar……………just trying to justify it…………OH is encouraging me!!!!

    Look forward to more recipes and will check out the Thermomix Forum.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I’m loving using it and if I a) had that kind of money lying about and no other things on wishlist to buy first and b) didn’t already have some of the other appliances it so handily replaces/ beats I’d buy it right now. I hate the idea of giving it back soon!

    Reply
  5. Craftilicious

    Will be reading your future tests with interest – can’t wait to hear if you think it worth the £800 purchase price once you’ve played with it a while. I looked at those and the waterbaths when they came out but currently have neither the worktop space (for the bath) nor the funds to buy either! But the more I see a thermo used the more I want one!!!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    “Worth it” depends on personal priorities and finances. For me, right now, I can’t justify it but I absolutely can see why so many people rave about it and if I had the money (over and above what I would spend on other higher priorities) I’d be seriously considering it. It’s an incredibly versatile and handy appliance and very very good at what it does.

    Reply
  6. Kathryn

    That’s a very impressive bit of kit! I’m always a bit wary of machines that claim to do a lot of things as it seems like a recipe for disaster to me but this sounds pretty impressive!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yeah, I was skeptical too, as it’s so much money and people rave so much but I’m really seeing why, now…

    Reply
  7. Gill

    That’s a really interesting post Kavey, thanks. I have to admit I never believed the hype that it could properly cook food – I just assumed that it would end up like baby food or a bit tasteless. Still though £800 could help me on the way to a VERY nice cooker…

    Reply
  8. celina

    Very interesting. Would like to see more demos for sure. Egg whites, puddings etc. I have a Bamix which I love and is a quality product. It does some of the things this mixer does.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I’ve got a couple of other posts to go up and I’ve planned a couple more trials as well.

    Reply
  9. Josh Peacock

    I want a Thermomix now after having read this. It’s ace. But £800 is WOW. Oh well, hope someday decides to give me this a birthday or Christmas present. By the by, your Basil Tagliatelle & Beef Ragu looks splendid. Alas, will have to make this without that awesome Thermomix.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yeah, a lot of money for sure. The recipe was good, I’m guessing you might need to adapt it to cook for longer if cooking on conventional stove top…

    Reply

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