Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Bolognese Ragu

Hi there,

Just to get things started, here is a recipe that I have modified over the years and am making for dinner tonight.  It's quick, simple and keeps for a few days, so it's great for lunch and dinner the next day or freezing (without the pasta) for a later date.

It takes a little more than an hour to make, but it can definitely save you time next week if you choose to freeze and re-heat!

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • A good glug of olive oil
  • 60g of pancetta (or bacon), chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (not too fine though)
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped (almost minced)
  • 500g veal mince
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of red wine (I love this with a glass or two of Barolo, so I usually just use that).
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of beef stock (salt reduced is best and preferably a good quality)
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2-3 chicken livers, finely chopped  (This is optional, but definitely adds to the creaminess of the sauce, so I strongly recommend using it!)
  • 500g fresh tagliatelle
  • Parmesan cheese (has to be fresh and grated, none of that dry powdery smelly spew rubbish please)
  • To serve:  Like I said, I love it with a Barolo, but any nice Italian red will go well and if you like, smear some thick slices of italian bread with a good quality olive oil and toast in a fry pan on both sides until nicely golden!
What to do

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the pancetta, onion, carrot and celery.  Mix well and cook over low heat until the onions are transparent and soft, stirring often.

Raise the heat and add the mince.  Cook until just starting to brown (it doesn't have to be completely browned all the way through).  Stir through the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute or so.  Add the wine and simmer for another minute or so.

Add the bay leaves and half of the stock.  Once the stock has been absorbed stir through the remaining stock and milk.  Season well.  And simmer covered for 2.5 - 3 hours.

About 20 minutes out from the sauce being ready, bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil.  Once it is at a rapid boil drop in the pasta and stir IMMEDIATELY.  I find this helps to stop the pasta from sticking together.  Continue to stir the pasta until it is well coated and the water is murky.  Boil uncovered until the pasta is Al Dente.

While the pasta is coming to the boil, if you are game to use the liver, stir this through the ragu now and simmer for another couple of minutes, before taking the sauce off the heat.

Once the pasta is Al Dente, drain and give it a good coating of olive oil before tossing through the ragu sauce.

Serve in a large deep bowl, with heaps of sauce and sprinkle with some parmesan.  Enjoy!

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