Ragu alla Bolognese

imageSo let’s start out this recipe with a clarification. Ragu alla Bolognese is an intensely flavored, rich tasting, wonderful sauce that is either traditionally served tossed with tagliatelle pasta or layered in lasagna Bolognese. It originated in Bologna Italy in the late 18th century, and although it has evolved over the years with slight variations, it is in no way like a typical meat sauce of ground beef and marinara. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with meat sauce, and I certainly have made my fair share of that too, but Ragu alla Bolognese has a much more complex flavor. It is a labor of love which requires time and patience, and a lot of steps but is well worth the wait. So next time you have a few hours to spare, well more like 3-4 hours, pour yourself a glass of wine or two( save some for the sauce), pop in your favorite Andrea Bocelli cd, and get to cooking this delicious Ragu. You won’t be sorry!

The full recipe is at the end of this post.
image Gather all of your ingredients so you stay nice and organized, or as we say in the culinary world, mise en place.
imageDice your onion, carrots, garlic, celery and bacon. You can dice them as small as you like but I like a little texture to the sauce so I do a medium dice. Honestly they cook for so long in the sauce that they break down quite a bit. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt some butter in a little olive oil and add your diced vegetables. Cook them until they are soft but not browned.image
Next add your bacon, ground pork and ground beef.image Cook the meat and stir well while doing this to make sure you break it up. Cook until most of the moisture has cooked off. Add salt and pepper. You will season again later so not too much.image image Next add the wine and deglaze all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of your pot. I told you not to drink it all. I know, you got caught up in the moment didn’t you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cook, stirring well, until most of the wine is absorbed.image Next add some chicken stock. You don’t have to do this but it adds another layer of flavor that I love. You’ve already committed to this now so just do it. Trust me.image Continue to cook and stir occasionally until most of the stock is absorbed. image Next add the milk. I know it seems strange to add this but it makes the sauce rich and delicious. Again, cook and stir occasionally until most of the milk is absorbed.image Ok, now after you put your whole tomatoes through a food processor to puree them, add those to the pot. You can use crushed tomatoes instead but I like crushing them myself. ๐Ÿ™‚image Continue to simmer and cook the sauce down until most of the liquid from the tomatoes is absorbed into this thick, rich, gorgeousness.image Add some freshly chopped basil, preferably chiffonade(ribbons) to make it pretty. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste to finish the Ragu.image I can’t explain how yummy your house is going to smell, and how delicious this is, you just have to experience it for yourself. You can serve your Ragu alla Bolognese tossed with tagliatelli or another wide noodle, or pasta of choice. I wouldn’t use anything too thin, you want a pasta that will stand up to this sauce. Also you can layer it with bechamel and parmesan cheese in a lasagna for another delicious classic, Lasagna alla Bolognese.

image


Ragu alla Bolognese (Yield 8-10 servings)

1 Tbs Butter

1 Tbs Olive Oil

3 Carrots, peeled and diced

3 Celery Stalks, diced

2-3 Onions, peeled and diced

4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and diced

1 pound Ground Beef Chuck

1 pound Ground Pork

5 Slices Bacon or Pancetta, diced

Kosher salt and Ground Pepper

1 1/2 c Dry White Wine

2 c Whole Milk

1 28 oz Can Whole Plum Tomatoes

3 c Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1/2 c Fresh Basil, chiffonade

1. Gather all of your ingredients so you stay nice and organized, or as we say in the culinary world, mise en place.

2. Dice your onion, carrots, garlic, celery and bacon. You can dice them as small as you like but I like a little texture to the sauce so I do a medium dice. Honestly they cook for so long in the sauce that they break down quite a bit. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt some butter in a little olive oil and add your diced vegetables. Cook them until they are soft but not browned.

3. Add your bacon, ground pork and ground beef. Cook the meat and stir well while doing this to make sure you break it up. Cook until most of the moisture has cooked off. Add salt and pepper. You will season again later so not too much.

4. Next add the wine and deglaze all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of your pot. I told you not to drink it all. I know, you got caught up in the moment didn’t you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cook, stirring well, until most of the wine is absorbed.

5. Add the chicken stock. You don’t have to do this but it adds another layer of flavor that I love. You’ve already committed to this now so just do it. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until most of the stock is absorbed.

6. Next add the milk. I know it seems strange to add this but it makes the sauce rich and delicious. Again, cook and stir occasionally until most of the milk is absorbed.

7. Ok, now after you put your whole tomatoes through a food processor to puree them, add those to the pot. You can use crushed tomatoes instead but I like crushing them myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Continue to cook the sauce down until most of the liquid from the tomatoes is absorbed into this thick, rich, gorgeousness.

8. Last but never least, add the freshly chopped basil, preferably chiffonade(ribbons) to make it pretty. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste to finish the Ragu.

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