Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ragu for Pasta

Ragu for Pasta

This recipe has prompted a discussion as to what is a proper Bolognese sauce. The Food Dictionary says it is a thick, full bodied meat and vegetable sauce enhanced with wine and milk or cream and the Italian term for this sauce is a ragu Bolognese. As this recipe has most of the components suggested by this definition I am going to to call it a ragu.

As always try and use the best quality, lowest fat content beef mince/ground beef. If you are not able to buy minced pork buy some really good Toulouse or Italian sausages and take them out of their skins.
This is quite a thick sauce and I like to serve this with a hefty pasta such as penne. Served with a great salad it makes a hearty meal.

The preparation and cooking time is something over an hour and three-quarters.

Ragu Bolognese ( for 6 )

500 g minced beef
500g minced pork
150g bacon ( lardons- chopped into small pieces)

3 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2 medium onions chopped
2-3 large branches of chopped celery ( to yield about a cup)
2 medium carrots peeled and chopped into a small dice

1 cup of milk
1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of tomato paste (puree)

Pasta enough for everyone
Parmesan, freshly grated- at least half a cup.

Melt the butter and olive oil into a large saucepan and add the vegetables. Stir around and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are soft about 10-15 minutes. Add the beef, pork and bacon and cook until browned- stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking up any lumps. This should take a further 15 minutes.
Add the milk, wine and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. This should take an hour and a bit.
I like to reduce the sauce until it is really thick.


Start to cook your pasta as per the instructions.

When you think the sauce is done you can season it with pepper. Add salt if you wish but be very careful as to the amount because the bacon makes the ragu fairly salty already.

Serve the ragu with the pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan.