Sunday, March 7, 2010

Traditional Bolognese Sauce (Ragu)

This recipe is from a cookbook I got while in Italy for my wedding. It is such a great sauce that I make it regularly. I am posting the original recipe with my own pictures added. I use 1 lb of bison instead of the 1.5 lb ground beef. I also typically add about 2-3 times the carrots, celery and garlic suggested, so do whatever you think your family would like. To save time, chop the veggies in your food processor. This sauce is also fantastic in lasagna.

2 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 lb ground beef
2/3 cup red wine or beef broth
1 cup milk
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until vegetables soften. Do not allow the vegetables to color.

2. Add the beef to the pan with the vegetables and cook over a medium heat until the meat changes color, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

3. Pour in the wine or broth. Stir frequently until it has evaporated, then add the milk and continue cooking and stirring until this has evaporated too.

4. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce uncovered, over the lowest possible health for at least 45 minutes. (Note: Don't skimp on the cooking time - it is essential for a full-flavored Bolognese sauce. Some Italian cooks insist on cooking it for 3-4 hours, so the longer the better). Serve over noodles garnished with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. 

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