Blog Post Photo for Pasta Rules & For Official Bolognese Sauce & Ragu Bolognese

Ragu Bolognese

I previously posted a recipe for the “Official” sauce of 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 EVO and butter, all beef, no pancetta, tinned tomatoes, nutmeg and tosses the sauce with the tagliatelle and a tablespoon of butter. There’s the “Official version” and then the numerous adaptations that are not considered to be the real thing and thought of as a meat sauce!  Very controversial!   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

2 Tbsp. EVO
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 (see below)
1 Tbsp. butter for tossing the pasta (opt.)

Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving with the pasta

Heat the EVO in a very large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots, sauté until soft, 8 – 10 minutes. Add the beef, veal and pancetta, breaking up the beef and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and serve immediately, passing the Parmigiano to sprinkle on the pasta.

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

Helpful link to Food Processor, Stand Mixer Pasta Dough.

If you’d to compare this recipe to the “Official” one, see “Official” Bolognese Sauce.


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