Recipe: Ragù alla Bolognese (adapted from Saveur magazine)
Bolognese sauce recipes can vary wildly from cook to cook, with each cook insisting that his or hers is the real deal. Some use cream or milk and scoff at the use of tomatoes. Some use tomatoes and refuse to let a drop of dairy near their stovetop. The one thing that invariably defines a Bolognese sauce is meat - usually a combination of pork and beef.
- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1⁄2 b. ground beef chuck
- 1⁄2 lb. ground pork shoulder? (most butchers will grind to order)
- 1 cup dry red wine? (I use Chianti)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 lb. pasta, cooked
optional: 1 tbsp. rendered bacon fat
1. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes more.
2. In a separate pan, cook the beef and pork on medium heat (in the bacon fat, if desired), stirring and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add the browned meats to the caramelized aromatics. Increase the heat to medium, add the wine, and simmer, stirring constantly, until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is very thick, about 3 hours.
4. Season ragù with salt and pepper. Toss with the pasta of your choice, or use in lasagne. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.
This recipe was adapted by Jessica Webster and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Jan. 13, 2010.