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.
Sweating short-ribs and adding duck eggs to the sauce will make this recipe more decadent and flavorful.
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