View Full Version : Ragu alla bolognese

21-10-18, 23:36
I always figure it's best to go to the source, at least in the beginning. This is the recipe deposited in a governmental office in Bologna. (Yes, I know: Italians are crazed about food. I get into arguments myself with other Italians about how to make certain dishes. We're all very opinionated and certain our way is the best way.)


"300 g di polpa di manzo (cartella o pancia o fesone di spalla o fusello) macinata grossa, 150 g di pancetta di maiale, 50 g di carota gialla, 50 g di costa di sedano, 30 g di cipolla, 300 g di passata di pomodoro o pelati, ½ bicchiere di vino bianco secco, ½ bicchiere di latte intero, poco brodo, olio extravergine d’oliva o burro, sale, pepe, ½ bicchiere di panna liquida da montare (facoltativa)"

That's 300 grams of ground beef or about 11 ounces (Manzo is actually butchered "younger" than American beef, but you'll never get it in northern Europe or America) from the diaphragm or stomach or shoulder or leg. (The idea is that they use tough but flavorful cuts from the cow. That's why the cooking time is so long. You need a long time for the meat to become tender. The most practical thing to do is just to use ground beef (chuck perhaps), which also means you can cut down the cooking time a bit.

150 grams of pancetta or Italian bacon. (About 5.5 or, say, 6 ounces) Please don't use smoked American bacon.

50 grams of carrot, 50 grams of celery, 30 grams of onion. (1/3 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup)

300 grams of crushed plum tomatoes (canned) or peeled skinless plum tomatoes which you crush by hand. The really old recipe used only tomato paste diluted with water, or just tomato paste, but most people now follow this version.

1/2 glass of dry white wine

1/2 glass of whole milk (it should be hot when added)

(That's about 1 cup)

"Some" broth. I use vegetable broth. You could use chicken broth. I wouldn't use beef broth unless you made it yourself. The commercial versions are terrible. You should have a simmering pot on the stove to add as the sauce cooks. Never add it cold.

Extra virgin olive oil or butter or both

Salt and pepper

1/2 glass of whipping cream if you're going to be putting it on a "dry" pasta

Use a pan with a large circumference because if the meat is "crowded" it will steam and release a lot of water, not brown. Otherwise, do it in batches.

Chop the pancetta very fine until it's almost a "paste". You can put it in a cuisinart.

Combine 3 tablespoons of oil or 50 grams of butter (or both, i.e. half of both) and the finely chopped carrot, celery and onion, and saute over a slow flame until translucent. Add the chopped beef on a slightly higher heat until it sizzles. Add salt and pepper. Add the wine and gently stir until the alcohol has completely evaporated. Add the tomato product. Cover and let it simmer away for about two hours. Keep an eye on it and add simmering broth occasionally so it doesn't stick or get too thick. About fifteen minutes before the end, add the milk. It's purpose is to make the meat more tender and to lessen any acidity from the tomatoes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. The Bolognese usage is that if the pasta is "dry", i.e. not freshly made, you add the whipping cream at the very end. Some also add a pat or two of butter.

Fwiw, manzo has a taste somewhere between beef and veal, so sometimes I use a half veal/half beef mix instead of all beef. I also sometimes use a bit of pancetta with the oil and butter to saute the vegetables so I can kick up the flavor, but use ground beef or 2/3 ground beef, 1/3 ground pork for the meat mix.

I also remove the sofrito after I saute it, saute the meat in the same pan, and then add the sofrito back in. That's what my mother did, on the grounds that you want the meat to caramelize and cooking it in the sofrito gets it too wet. I also think that adding the milk earlier makes more sense, i.e. before the wine and tomato, so it gets to work on the meat right away. Also, my grandmother from Parma always added some ground nutmeg to the sauteing meat, and two fresh bay leaves after the tomato was added, so I do it too. I've never gotten any complaints! :) I also have a confession to make. There is absolutely no garlic in the traditional recipe, but my children just really like it, so I use one whole garlic clove in the sofrito, which I then remove.

If you really want it more tomatoey, you can add more.

At the end I always add a pat or two of butter, and, of course, lots of grated parmigiano reggiano.

I always double or even triple this recipe and freeze portions for another time.

24-10-18, 15:33
We also add the Bay Leaves and the Nutmeg.

We add the bay leaves when the sauce is Half cooked. The only purpose is to dissipate the smell impurities (tanfo), and to avoid aftertaste sensations.

We add a tiny bit of ground Nutmeg 20 minutes before the Sauce is ready, to avoid overwhelming its taste.

Towards the end, We also add half spoon or less of Sugar, but only if we taste some acidity.

It’s also important to skim most, but not all of the sauce floating fats.

Interesting Frittata :

LoL :)