Ragù alla Bolognese
Ragù alla Bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. You can use this sauce to dress tagliatelle pasta or lasagna in a Bolognese sauce. Genuine ragù alla Bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing, and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic sofrito of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Diverse types of meat like finely chopped pancetta, as well as ground beef, veal, and fatty pork. Tomato paste, red wine, San Marzano tomatoes, and tomato puree are added and then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce finished off with heavy cream and butter.
While many traditional variations currently exist, in 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine published a recipe for authentic ragù alla Bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce (incorporating some fresh pancetta and a little milk). In Italy, ragù alla Bolognese is simply ragù.
This is my personal rendition of Bolognese Sauce. Unlike most TV cooking shows I do not use salt in the cooking process. The robust flavor of a hearty Bolognese Sauce is developed by using fresh ingredients and classic cooking methods.
EQUIPMENT: kitchen machine food cutter, French chef knife, cutting board, 8 Qt. stockpot, 11-inch sauté skillet
PREPARATION TIME: 3 hours – Makes 10 to 12 servings
- 1 tablespoon pure golden olive oil
- ½ pound pancetta diced
- 2 medium carrots diced. Brushed clean not peeled rinsed
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 medium onion peeled and diced
- ½ bulb garlic peeled and diced
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup Chianti
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Note: If fresh herbs are not available use 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes 28 ounces each
- 1 can tomato puree 28 ounce
- 3 cups water, purified or filtered (no chlorinated tap water)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (not the green stuff)
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ stick unsalted butter
In a hot stockpot over medium heat 275˚F, sauté the pancetta in olive oil until slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To the stockpot add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic (aromatic vegetables) and sweat down, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir to prevent burning. "Sweating" simply means to soften the vegetables without browning to allow the flavors to combine.
When the vegetables begin to brown, add the tomato paste and sauté, stirring until the paste turns a reddish-brown in color and a residue forms on the bottom of the stockpot. A Fond is the brown residue that forms on the stockpot from sauteing the vegetables and tomato paste. Do not allow the fond to burn.
Deglaze the stockpot with wine and add the Italian seasoning, stirring until the alcohol burns off and it forms a thick paste, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the whole tomatoes, tomato puree, and water. Once the tomatoes begin to bubble reduce the heat to medium-low 200˚F so the sauce is barely simmering.
While the sauce is cooking Cook the Meats. Preheat the sauté skillet over medium-high heat 375ᵒF. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted add the ground pork, veal, and beef. Season with onion powder and garlic salt and continue stirring until the meat is brown in color, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the meat to the sauce.
Stir in the parmesan cheese, and cream and add the butter. Stir to combine cook uncovered for 2 to 3 hours, or until the liquid evaporates to desired thickness. Remove the heat.
Serve over Tagliatelle pasta, top with grated cheese and chopped fresh basil.
NUTRITION: 214 calories; 11 g fat (4 g sat, 5 g mono); 49 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 2 g fiber; 316 mg sodium; 420 mg potassium.