I haven’t made Bolognese in years. It is has not been a go-to recipe for me. I am not sure if it was due to the thousands of other recipes running through my head, or because I thought that it was just another boring meat sauce. Either way, I am so glad that I decided to come up with a recipe for Bolognese as I hosted my sons high school cross country team’s pasta dinner, and they loved it!
Bolognese is a meat-based sauce for pasta originating in Bologna, Italy. It is not a heavily laden tomato sauce, but has a small amount of tomatoes, or concentrate. The sauce dates back to the 5th century, and consists of beef, pancetta, onions, tomato paste, beef broth, white wine and cream. With those ingredients, you know it has to be good! Revisions and adaptations, led some recipes to contain pork, chicken, veal, porcini mushrooms, carrots and celery. One thing is for certain, the longer the Ragu’alla Bolognese simmers, the better; a 5 or 6 hour simmer is not unusual.
Bolognese sauce is best served on tagliatelle or wide shaped pasta, as it will hold the sauce, and spaghetti is not recommended.
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground veal, or ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork (not lean)
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste or 2 cans san marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
- 1 cup whole milk or half & half
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- fresh parsley
- freshly grated parmesean
- Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add pancetta, veal, and pork and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste or tomatoes, milk or half & half, wine, chicken stock, nutmeg and thyme, and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and freshly grated parmesan.