Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Classic Ragu Bolognese



Anyone who cares about what they eat knows that Ragu is not the sauce that comes out of a jar. This is the classic Italian meat sauce. It can be served with fresh tagliatelle egg pasta, or spaghetti. This is also the same sauce that is used to make a traditional meat lasagne. There are many variations, but I consider this to be the authentic preparation. A delicious meat sauce is the ultimate comfort food, and it never disappoints.
Ingredients:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot diced
1 celery stick chopped
1 clove garlic minced
4 strips bacon
1 1/2 pound ground beef (or mixture with ground veal or pork)
2/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup milk
grated nutmeg
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh oregano, less if dried
salt to taste
1 lb pasta of choice, tagliatelle or spaghetti
grated parmesan cheese to taste
If you have a chopper, for me this is the easiest way to get started. In your chopper, put the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and bacon. Cut the ingredients into uniform size pieces before putting in chopper. Then pulse the chopper until everything is pretty finely chopped. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and when it is really hot, and the vegetable mixture. Saute over medium high heat until everything becomes nice and golden. Next add the ground meat, and stir occasionally until the meat is nicely browned.
Add the red wine to the meat mixture. Bring to a boil, and stir regularly until most of the wine has been absorbed by the meat mixture. Add salt to taste. Now add the milk, and a little bit of nutmeg. Continue cooking until most of the milk been absorbed. Next add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and oregano. Stir all the ingredients together, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 1-2 hours if you can. The sauce should take on a brick red color. Sauce should be quite thick, but if is too thick, you can add a little bit of canned tomato sauce (puree) until you get your desired consistency. If the sauce will be used for lasagne, you need it to be thicker. Your sauce is ready!
For the pasta, bring water to a strong boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add about a handful of rock salt. Now you are ready to cook the pasta until it is al dente. Once pasta is to desired doneness, strain it, and put it back in the pot with about a cup of sauce. Stir together over medium heat. Then put your pasta onto your serving dish, and top with an additional desired amount of sauce, and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!

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