Prep 30 mins
Cook 4 hrs 20 mins
I lived in Northern Italy for 3 1/2 years and had many different Bolognese both restaurant prepared and in Italian homes. There are some variations, but the base is the same usually. The one variation that I never saw in Italy was the use of any herbs. The only seasoning is salt and pepper. If you can't find pancetta, you can use bacon, but I recommend the pancetta.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion (small dice)
- 3 medium carrots (small dice)
- 3 medium celery ribs (small dice)
- 4 garlic cloves (small dice)
- 1⁄4 lb pancetta (diced)
- 2 lbs ground meat (equal amt of ground veal, pork and beef)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups milk
- 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes (in liquid, diced)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese (freshly grated)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place a 12" skillet over medium heat and melt butter in the oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic with some salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the pancetta or bacon and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
- Increase the heat to high and add meat a third at a time. Make sure to add meat gradually as this allows the water to evaporate and the meat will brown.
- Cook until meat is no longer pink. Once this happens, set timer for 15 minutes and allow meat to caramelize stirring occasionally. It is okay for meat to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Over medium heat, pour the white wine into pan to deglaze. Scrape all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Add milk, diced tomatoes with liquid, beef stock, 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper to the pan. Bring to boil and then put on low and simmer slowly half covered for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.
- Do not allow meat to stick again. If starts to stick lower heat and add a small amount of beef stock.
- The sauce should be thick at the end.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Finish with stirring in parmigiano cheese and butter to ragu.
An Italian from Milan once told about making sauce starting with celery and carrot...this was new to me, and I didn't really "get it" until I came across this recipe. Also, the addition of both milk and white wine threw me, but the end result is complete with simple, earthy, flavor. This is my new favorite ground meats sauce, a definite crowd pleaser, and my finicky toddler loves it too. Also, no need to alter any directions/ingredients etc., in my opinion. Thank you for shaing Jen!