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Ragù alla Bolognese (Classic Bolognese Meat Sauce)

November/December 2009

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This is a version of the famous meat sauce of Emilia Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital. Giuliano Hazan’s family is from Emilia Romagna, and he learned to make Bolognese sauce from his mother, Marcella, who learned it from her grandmother, Mary. Its classic pairing is with homemade tagliatelle or pappardelle but it’s also very good with rigatoni, shells or any substantial pasta shape, preferably one with ridges, that has nooks and cavities to trap the sauce. (Adapted from How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan; Scribner, 2005).



READER'S COMMENT:
"Wow, this sauce is amazing. I never thought I'd like a sweeter tasting sauce, but it's so rich I can't stop eating it! I used one red onion with the yellow and added minced garlic to the veggies. Used one pound turkey with the two pounds...
Ragù alla Bolognese (Classic Bolognese Meat Sauce)

Makes: About 10 cups, for 20 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 small or 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 28-ounce cans plus one 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

Preparation

  1. Put onions, carrots, celery, butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and continue stirring until the meat has lost its red color, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has almost completely evaporated, 18 to 25 minutes. Add milk and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has mostly evaporated, 12 to 18 minutes.
  4. Coarsely chop tomatoes and add them and their juice to the pot. Once the tomatoes have started bubbling, reduce the heat to low so that the sauce is barely simmering. Cook uncovered for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If all the liquid evaporates before the cooking time is up, add water 1/2 cup at a time as needed. After 4 hours, make sure all the liquid has evaporated before you remove the sauce from the heat. Blot or skim any fat from the surface before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thin with a little water when you reheat it, if desired.

Nutrition

214 calories; 11 g fat (4 g sat, 5 g mono); 49 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 2 g fiber; 316 mg sodium; 420 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 fat

Nutrition Note: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv), Zinc (23% dv).


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