Bolognese Sauce - Ragu alla bolognese Recipe
Bolognese Sauce - Ragu alla bolognese
Flavors of Emilia-Romagna
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: At least 2-3 hours

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

This traditional recipe originated in Emilia-Romagna, Italy's richest gastronomic region.

There's no better place to savour traditional Bolognese sauce with delicious pasta than in Bologna, a city with a wealth of Roman and medieval ruins. (And while you're here you might also sample the famous ham from the neighbouring town of Parma.) There exist as many versions of the sauce as there are cooks in Bologna. The recipe can vary in proportions or in the addition of certain ingredients, but the basic recipe remains the same - one to which cooks add their own personal touches!

Pasta with Bolognese sauce is served as a first course or as a side dish with breaded veal scaloppini. But whatever the menu, don't forget to pour a glass of Lambrusco, a wine from the region.

We've suggested a simmering time of two to three hours, but if you have the time, let the sauce simmer over low heat for four to six hours. The principle is simple: the longer the sauce simmers, the richer the flavour and consistency become. Be sure to stir it regularly so that it doesn't stick., always using a wooden spoon. Metal can oxidize in contact with tomato and leave an unpleasant metallic taste.

Even though this sauce is usually paired with spaghetti, it is also good with tagliatelle or lasagne.

- 125 g (4 oz.) lean ground Pork
- 375 g (13 oz.) ground Beef
- 125 g (5 oz.) smoked ham
- 125 g (5 oz.) chicken livers (optional)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 tbsp. chopped carrot
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped celery
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) red or white wine
- 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock
- 800 g (1 3/4 lb.) peeled tomatoes + 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. cream (optional)
- Salt, pepper
- Bay leaves, basil (optional)
  1. Make a "battuto" - in other words, chop all the vegetables (don't forget to remove the "strings" from the celery before chopping);
  2. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery over low heat in oil (or oil and butter); sweat the vegetables until they colour slightly;
  3. add the garlic, stirring well with a wooden spoon;
  4. add the ground meat and cook over low heat, breaking the meat up with a fork. Season with salt and pepper;
  5. deglaze with the white or red wine; increase the heat and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add the quartered tomatoes and the tomato paste, thinned with a little tomato juice, water or broth.
  6. Season with the bay leaves and basil, if using, and combine well.
  7. Increase the heat to medium so that the sauce boils gently; cover the pot and let simmer for two to three hours, adding more broth as necessary.
  8. If you are using cream, add it an hour before the end of the cooking time; remove the bay leaves before serving. The cream will tend to cut some of the tomato's acidity.

Buon appetito!

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