Ragu Bolognese

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I previously posted a recipe for the “official” sauce from Bologna. This version has the same basics but with the addition of beef stock and red wine. Some recipes use beef, pork and veal but I think the pancetta covers the pork part! Marcella Hazan’s recipe uses a little EVOO and butter, all beef, no pancetta, tinned tomatoes, nutmeg and tosses the sauce with the tagliatelle and a tablespoon of butter! Kind of puts me in mind of “spaghetti carbonara”. There’s the official version and then the adaptations that are not considered to be the real thing! Why not make a double batch so you can have some stashed in the freezer. Oh…fresh tagliatelle please, it’s considered bad form to use anything but! And please, no spaghetti here, otherwise the Bolognese police will come knocking on your door!

Makes 4 Servings

DSCN3304 nx2 pt22 Tbsp. EVOO
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
6 oz. ground beef (lean)
6 oz. ground veal
3 oz. finely chopped pancetta
½ cup dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 ½ Tbsp. double concentrated tomato paste (comes in a tube),
Otherwise, use 3 Tbsp. regular tomato paste
Sea or kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup homogenized milk, warmed before using
3 egg fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine** (l lb. pasta)
1 Tbsp. butter for tossing the pasta (opt.)

Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving with the pasta

Heat the EVOO in a very large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery & carrots & sauté until soft, 8 – 10 minutes. Add the beef, veal & pancetta, breaking up the beef & veal with a fork, until browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste & sauté for a minute more; add the wine, boil 1 minute, stirring often & scraping up any browned bits. Add 2 ½ cups beef stock, stir to combine; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a low, gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavours come together, 1 ½ hours; season with salt & pepper to taste.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually stir into the meat sauce. Cover sauce, leaving lid slightly ajar & simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by ¼ cupful’s to thin if necessary.

Heat a large pasta serving bowl in a warm oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 – 2 Tbsp. salt; add the tagliatelle & cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before it is al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Raise the heat under the ragu to medium; then transfer the drained pasta into the sauté pan, along with 1 Tbsp. butter, if using; tossing to combine; stirring in some of the reserved pasta cooking water by tablespoonful’s if the sauce seems dry. Place the pasta into the warmed serving bowl & serve immediately, passing the Parmigiano to sprinkle on the pasta.

**The ragu can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover & keep chilled. Rewarm before using. Or you can freeze the sauce to use later.

**If you would like to see the recipe for homemade tagliatelle, please go to Food Processor, Stand Mixer Pasta Dough.

**If you wish to compare this recipe to the “Official” one, please go to “Official” Bolognese Sauce.

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