After a recent trip to Italy, my husband asked me to recreate the sensational Bolognese sauce he enjoyed. Our house has dietary restrictions (with me cooking my way around the world!), so onions and garlic are problematic. I compensate with extra vegetables – in this case carrots and celery.
For this simple, yet refined sauce, I used the food processor to create a fine consistency for the veggies and the meats.
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced shallots
2 pounds extra lean beef, ground fine
1/3 pound pancetta, ground fine
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup milk
1 cup white wine (dry, preferred)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan Reggiano, shaved
1. In stockpot, heat oil and butter. Add minced vegetables and cook down until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add meats and stir constantly until lightly browned.
3. Add tomato paste and liquids, stirring to combine.
4. Simmer for 90 minutes. Season to taste.
5. Serve with tagliatelle, papardelle or other wide noodle. Spaghetti will do, but the wider noodles better complement the sauce. Toss warm pasta with the ragu in a bowl until noodles are well-coated.
6. Top with grated Parmesan Reggiano and serve with focaccia bread.
Taste Substitution: This is a light, fragrant sauce – without heavy tomato taste. Feel free to add 1 medium onion, diced and 1 clove garlic, sliced to this recipe for more authentic flavor. Iron Chef Mario Batali makes a similar Ragu but chooses to use ground pork and veal as his primary flavor components. His selection will yield a mild, rich flavor to the sauce.