The Ragú Bolognese is a classic recipe from Bologna. Contrary to common belief it is not a tomato sauce. The original recipe goes back centuries, before the introduction of tomato in Europe. In fact actually it is a meat sauce and there is only a small quantity of tomatoes or tomato extract. The sauce is very slowly cooked on low heat and the final flavor is meaty and rich. The sauce is used to dress the tagliatelle or fettuccine, and is a wonderful first course for any formal dinner.
2 oz (60 gm) pancetta (or substitute with un-smoked bacon)
1 celery stick
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
2 + 2 oz (60 + 60 gm) butter
3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
¾ lb (340 gm) ground beef
¾ lb (340 gm) ground lean pork meat
3–4 oz (approximately 100 gm) prosciutto, finely ground
½ lb (225 gm) unflavored Italian sausage, skin removed
1 cup (230 cc) dry red wine
1 cup (200 gm) tomatoe purée
1 cup (230 cc) broth (if necessary)
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
make fresh pasta or substitute with 1/2 lb (250 gr) dry egg fettuccine
5 oz (140 gm) parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Chop finely together the bacon, celery, carrot, and onion. Place 2 oz (60 gm) of the butter and olive oil in a medium size saucepan. When the butter starts foaming add the chopped vegetables, salt, and pepper. Sauté until onion becomes soft and translucent.
Add the ground beef, ground pork, ground prosciutto, and sausage.
Turn the heat to medium and cook until meat is browned. Stir and break the meat in small bits with a wooden spoon.
Add the wine. Turn the heat to medium-high and let the wine evaporate.
Add the tomato and lower the flame to a very slow simmer
Let the sauce cook very slowly for at least 3 hours.
Add a small quantity of broth if the sauce thickens too much.
Stir in the milk (or cream) and 2 oz (60 gm) butter just before removing the saucepan from the heat. Adjust salt and pepper.
* In a stockpot bring water to a boil. Add salt.
* Drop the pasta in the pot and mix occasionally with a long fork.
* Cook until al dente, that is not too soft or overcooked. Taste a little piece form time to time to test for readiness.
* Drain thoroughly in a colander.
* Transfer to a large bowl.
Top with the sauce, the parmigiano reggiano cheese, and toss. Serve accompanied by a small bowl with more grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.