Some things in life are worth waiting for, and a good sauce is one of them (at least for me anyway). And no surprise then, this is one of those sauces! Ragu alla Bolognese. Pronounced bowl-own-ez-ay, it’s an amazing, rich, beautiful, robust sauce.
It’s a meat based sauce originating in Bologna Italy (hence the name). It’s NOT a tomato based sauce as some might think, it actually has very little tomato sauce. It gets it’s amazing deep burgundy color from the wine & the little tomato paste that goes in. As with most Italian recipes the ingredients can and will vary, and this is no exception. Some people use different combinations of meat, others put in livers to add a new level of flavor and even on special occasions a dab of cream is added. Some might substitute stock for the water. However, as with all of my recipes, this is the way I was taught to make my Bolognese sauce. It hits the spot every time.
I’m not going to lie, this sauce takes time. Not one of those sauces you can just decide to make at 7pm (well that is unless you’d like to eat a midnight). So for me, it’s the perfect weekend sauce. When I have time to let it simmer away on the stove and fill the house with aromas, aromas so intoxicating that they will make your head spin (it’s true, you know I wouldn’t lie to ya). The longer this sauce cooks the better it will be. You can’t short change it here, so don’t even think about it, okay?
BUT with that said, don’t be afraid of this sauce. After the initial flavor building is done you just let it sit and simmer. Check on it every so often to stir and add water. That’s not so hard is it? Especially not with results you’re going to get. You simply can’t get this from a jar. Just sayin…
A couple of things to remember, chop/mince your veggies as fine as possible (you don’t want big hunks of celery and carrots now do ya) If you’re not as handy with the knife just or just don’t like to spend 10 minutes mincing tee hee give them a quick spin around your food processor (just DON’T blitz them into a paste, a couple of pulses will do the job nicely). Please please PLEASE, ti prego, use a GOOD wine! It’s one of the major components here. Plus you can enjoy the rest of the bottle while you’re cooking the sauce *wink wink*
So now what to do with this mind blowing sauce? It’s perfect with long pastas and it’s what I use to make my Lasagne alla Bolognese too ; )
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots - peeled, minced
- 2 stalks celery - minced
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1 onion - minced
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 bottle red wine
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground veal
- kosher salt/pepper
- In a LARGE deep sided pan add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- Add: carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until completely soft, tender. Stir as necessary.
- Add meats, season with salt and pepper and cook until completely brown.
- Once browned, add tomato paste and allow to brown, approximately 5 minutes.
- Once brown add wine. Allow to reduce by half. Season with salt.
- Add enough water to cover the sauce by 1". Simmer on LOW. Stirring as necessary.
- When liquid levels are low add more water. Continue cooking and reducing for a MINIMUM of one hour. Sauce is best after 2-3 or even more hours.
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