I should have published this recipe a while ago, maybe as a first recipe of the blog to explain the name “Do not call it Bolognese”. Anyway, today’s recipe is Ragù, the real one, the ragù alla Bolognese (often called Bolognese sauce in the UK). The ragù alla Bolognese takes its name from Bologna which is the Emilia Romagna capital city, and Emilia Romagna is the region where I grew up, therefore pasta with ragù is one of the dishes which I most associate to home and childhood.
Today there are many versions of this sauce, but there is an official version of the ragù alla Bolognese which was registered by the delegation of Bologna of the Italian Academy of Cuisine at the Chamber of Commerce on October 17th 1982. The original recipe requires the use of a particular cut of meat which is rather fat, called “cartella”, located on the belly of the beef. Today, to reduce the amount of fats, this cut of beef is commonly replaced with beef mince. I used a mix of beef and pork mince and I avoided the use of pancetta, which should be cooked at the beginning of the recipe in order to melt the fat.
In my opinion the secret for obtaining a good a ragù is to use good quality ingredients, especially the meat and the tomato passata. A long cooking time is also important, around 4 hours, but if you are in a hurry it can be ready in 1.5 – 2 hours. If you want to store the ragù for later, when it’s ready, cool it down as quickly as possible putting the pan in a cold water bath. Once at room temperature, it can be frozen in freezer bags or a glass pot, otherwise it can be kept in the refrigerator for 6-8 days.
Ragù alla Bolognese
Ingredients for 6 people:
300 g beef mince
300 g pork mince
2 carrots, small
2 celery sticks
400 g tomato passata
red wine, a good glass (about 250 ml)
milk, about 150 ml
extra-virgin olive oil
salt, couple of pinches
Cut the carrots, onion and celery sticks in small pieces. Heat two tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot and add the chopped vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is golden and translucent. Add the beef and pork mince a cook for another 10 minutes stirring frequently. Raise the heat and, on a high heat, add the wine and let it evaporate. When the wine has evaporated (no smell of alcohol) add the tomato passata, salt and bring to the boil. Cook for at least an hour and an half (but better for 2-3 hours) on a low heat stirring from time to time. Add the milk and simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
You can use the ragù with tagliatelle, spaghetti or any other kind of pasta and also to prepare lasagne.