Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bolognese Meat Sauce

This recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  I served it over homemade pappardelle (I followed Lidia Bastianich’s recipe for rolling and cutting), but you can of course use boxed, dried pasta. N.B. This recipe is almost doubled from Hazan’s original.  I like to make this huge batch and freeze the rest for later use.  This will make way more than enough for 1 ¼ lb of fresh pasta.

Total time: about 3 ½ - 4 hours

2 Tbs olive oil
6 Tbs butter
1 C chopped onion

1 1/3 C chopped celery
1 C chopped carrots
1 1/2 lb ground beef chuck

1 1/2 C whole milk

1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

1 C dry white wine

28 oz canned Italian plum tomatoes (I use San Marzano), cut in with their juice

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp good red wine (drink the rest)
freshly graded parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add the chopped onion, stirring and cooking until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped celery and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring the vegetables to coat them well.
Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper. Break up the meat and stir well, cooking until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
Add the milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. This can take a while (20-30 minutes). Add the 1/8 tsp of grated nutmeg and stir.
Add the wine and let simmer until it has evaporated. This can also take a while. Add the tomatoes with their juices and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer with occasional bubbles breaking. Cook uncovered for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. If the sauce gets to dry, add some water to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  When you’re ready to serve (or store the sauce for later use), no water should remain and the fat must be separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.
To serve: add the tablespoon of red wine and stir.  Toss with cooked drained pasta.  Serve with the grated cheese on the side.
If you’re not going to serve it right away, you can freeze the sauce.  Reheat gently before tossing with the pasta.

I don't have any pictures of just the food, but here we are enjoying it with (lots and lots of) wine.

I served this with some turnip green - potato mash.  It's adapted from a recipe in Lidia Bastianich's cookbook,
Lidia's Italian Table.  She uses swiss chard and baking potatoes.  Since it's November I couldn't get any swiss chard, so I substituted turnip greens.  Recipe to follow!

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