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a perfect pasta Bolognese

There are hundreds of different Bolognese sauces but this one is my favorite.  The use of two different type meats, using pork or veal along with the beef, makes the sauce slightly less heavy.

I often do not add any milk or cream to the sauce.  However, adding the dairy makes the sauce smoother and cuts some of the acidity of the tomatoes.  You can freeze the sauce (without the heavy cream is best) and keep up to one month – ideal to always have a delicious meal at hand.

A little trick is to add the rind of  Parmesan cheese to the sauce before cooking and then remove it when ready to serve.  It adds a bit of salty, cheese richness to the flavor of the sauce.

 

a perfect pasta Bolognese

There are hundreds of different Bolognese sauces but this one is my favorite.  The use of two different type meats, using pork or veal along with the beef, makes the sauce slightly less heavy.

I often do not add any milk or cream to the sauce.  However, adding the dairy makes the sauce smoother and cuts some of the acidity of the tomatoes.  You can freeze the sauce (without the heavy cream is best) and keep up to one month – ideal to always have a delicious meal at hand.

A little trick is to add the rind of  Parmesan cheese to the sauce before cooking and then remove it when ready to serve.  It adds a bit of salty, cheese richness to the flavor of the sauce.

 

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Ingredients

Recipe serves: 6-8
1 pound ground or minced beef
1 pound ground or minced veal or pork
1 onion
1 large carrot
1 large stalk celery
4 garlic cloves
1 cube beef bouillon
1/2 cup red wine
26 ounces (750 grams) tomatoes, in can or box
1/2 cup milk (optional)
salt, to taste
a few tablespoons olive oil
garnish fresh basil
Parmesan cheese, grated for the table
for pasta
1 1/2 pounds for starter, 2 1/2 pounds for main course of fettuccine, rigatoni, fusilli, tagliatelle
salt, at least a handful
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thoughts&stories

As the name suggests, Bolognese sauce originates from Bologna, Italy and is often referred to as Ragu.    Served over pasta, or commonly made as the meat sauce for Lasagne alla Bolognese, the recipe first appeared in 1861.  The cookbook by Pelligrino Artusi, La scienze in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (the science of the kitchen and the art of eating well), was the first time the sauce was featured in a number of different recipes.

Italian sauces often have the base of onions, celery and carrots, which is similar to the Mirepoix in French cuisine.  In Italian the onion, celery, carrot base is called battuto.  When I am feeling a bit lazy, or do not want to chop, I often buy the Mirepoix (battuto) already chopped up- adding about 2 cups to this recipe.

Italians estimate about 100 grams  per person, about 4 ounces per person- 1 pound box serves 4 people, 500 gram bag serves about 4 people.  But if serving for as a starter, you may want to the portion size to be slightly smaller.  I often measure out the pasta (since shapes differ) onto the plate that will be used to “guess-timate” the right amount.  You also need to consider the heartiness of the sauce and determine if more or less should be served- lighter the sauce =  more, heavier a little less.

 

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a perfect pasta Bolognese
  • time
    2 hours 30 min
  • serves
    6
  • skill level
    Easy

Ingredients

  • for pasta

Directions

1
Done

Finely chop the onion and garlic. Roughly chop the carrots and celery. You are making a mirepoix (French name) or soffritto (in Italian) which is finely chopped carrots, celery and onions used for the base of many sauces.

2
Done

Place olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, cooking for 4- 5 minutes until soft.

3
Done

Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

4
Done

Break up the ground meat (both types) with your hands and add to saucepan. Mix well and brown the meat for 7-8 minutes.

5
Done

Crumble in the beef bouillon cube, mix. You usually do not need to add salt now because of the bouillon cube yet once meat cooked after the next step, add salt to taste.

6
Done

Pour in the red wine, let bubble until the wine evaporates into the meat, about 5 minutes. Test for salt.

7
Done

Add the tomatoes and mix well. Let simmer on medium heat for 2 hours. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing burns on the bottom.

8
Done

Optional: Before serving add the milk and cook for another 10 minutes.

9
Done

For the pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, 4 quarts (about 2 litres). You want plenty of water, pasta needs to move around or it may become mushy. If you do not have a large pot, use two small ones.

10
Done

Add a generous bit of salt - or a general rule is 1 heaping tablespoon for each pound of pasta. The water should be "slightly less salty than the sea."

11
Done

Add your favorite pasta shape for Bolognese sauce, but most traditional is tagliatelle, rigatoni, or fusilli, mix around. Set timer for 7 minutes but test after 5 minutes.

12
Done

Once the pasta is al dente (slightly chewy and resistant to the bite), remove immediately and drain. For this sauce, I do not reserve any pasta water since the sauce does not require it.

13
Done

Add immediately to the sauce and serve in a large bowl or in individual bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. You can add a sprig of basil for some color.