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Monday, November 12, 2012

My Mom's Bolognese Sauce (Ragu alla Bolognese)

This is my version of my Mom's recipe that I have tweaked a bit over the years and it is always what I use in baked pasta dishes. There is nothing like a big pot of this ragu from Bologna simmering on the stove top all day to bring comfort to your home and heart! The carrots sweeten it up and the cream helps mellow it out. You can use any ground meat or any combo of ground meat you choose.I like part ground lean beef part ground pork part ground turkey.
2-3 pounds ground meat
2 ounces chopped bacon or pancetta
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 grated, chopped, or minced carrots
2-3 stalks  minced celery
1large yellow onion chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups pureed Italian tomatoes
2/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup cream (This helps tenderize the meat and protect it from the acids of the tomatoes!)
1/4-1/2 cup grated Romano cheese or Parmigiana if you prefer plus more for the table
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
In heavy saucepan saute the bacon or pancetta until crispy.
Add the oil/butter and allow it to melt.
Add the onion along with the salt and saute until translucent. Add carrots and celery and saute for a few minutes or until soft.
Add the wine and cook for about 3 minutes cooking out the alcohol.
Add the meat and brown and breaking it up. Stir often. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes till the meat is well cooked and no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes and their juice along with the optional Parmesan rind. Let cook at a slow bubble till thickened, about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness you desire the longer the thicker.
After it has thickened you can cover it and at a very low simmer cook for several hours or move on to the next step and serve. In Bologna they simmer covered for up to 5 hours.
Add the cream and cook an additional 3 minutes just before serving.
Add the cheese at the very end off heat. Serve with additional cheese
Pasta: traditionally this is served with tagliatelle, which is a thick pasta able to hold up to the sauce.

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