Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked meat-based sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. White wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato paste or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce. Outside Italy and in this recipe, the phrase "Bolognese sauce" is often used to refer to a tomato-based sauce to which minced meat has been added; such sauces typically bear little resemblance to the Italian ragù alla bolognese, being more similar in fact to the ragù alla napoletana from the tomato-rich south of the country.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion medium finely diced
- 1 carrot medium finely diced
- 1 celery rib medium finely diced
- 2 ounces pancetta thickly sliced, finely diced
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground veal
- ¼ pound ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic large chopped
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 28 ounces peeled Italian tomatoes 1 can seeded and finely chopped, juices reserved
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 pounds penne rigate
- Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape the vegetable mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the saucepan and heat until just shimmering. Add the beef, veal and pork and cook over moderately high heat until just barely pink, about 5 minutes. Return the vegetable mixture to the saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream and cook the sauce just until heated through.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, return to the pot and toss with the sauce. Serve the pasta in deep bowls and pass the Parmesan at the table.
Sweating short-ribs and adding duck eggs to the sauce will make this recipe more decadent and flavorful.
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