Friday, July 22, 2011

Ragu' alla Bolognese - Authentic Italian Meat Sauce

This is another one of those classic recipes that are subject to endless variations. Every household has their secret for the perfect meat sauce, and everyone prefers their own version over any other. Even I have at least two different ways of doing it: one is stronger and involves a lot of red wine, and one is milder and it includes milk. I have recently discovered that the official recipe includes milk too, so I am publishing this one. The official recipe though is made with different kinds of meat that are not easily available in the States and it takes a lot longer to make. As usual I chose a simpler version that you can do any day. It is not a quick recipe, you still have to let the sauce simmer for at least one hour, but once you started you just have to let it cook, so it is not a very elaborate one and I think anyone can easily replicate it at home. It is not a light or healthy recipe either. If you want a lighter version try getting a cut of meat with less fat and substitute the sausage with ground pork. If you decide to do so add more pepper and paprika,as you will lose a lot of the flavor.


1 lb. of ground beef ( 85/15)
2-3 Sweet Italian Sausages
1 medium yellow onion
2 medium carrots
2 medium celery ribs
1 large can of tomato puree (1lb 12oz)
1 cup of milk
1 clove (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
paprika (optional)
pepper (optional)
olive oil


Finely chop the vegetables and put them in a large pot with enough olive oil to coat them. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.

Take the casing off the sausages and add the meat to the vegetables. Stir until it's browned.
Add the ground beef to the pot and stir until it's browned.

Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.

Add the clove, the bay leaf, paprika and pepper. ( I marked them as optional just because you shouldn't feel like you can't do this sauce without them, but it definitely tastes better with them!)

Add salt and partially cover with the lid. Let simmer stirring every once in a while for at least 1 hour.The goal is to have the sauce and the meat really come together, while the tomato sauce itself will reduce in size.

Once you think the sauce is ready, add the cup of milk and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes and turn off.

For a perfect dish serve over fettuccine, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or use it to make the perfect Lasagna.

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