Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bolognese Made Easy

Bolognese sauce known in Italian as ragù is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. In Italian cuisine it is customarily used to dress tagliatelle or other broad flat pasta shapes, such as fettuccine. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sauteing and braising. Typical ingredients include onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. Red wine and a small amount of tomato concentrate and/or tomatoes are added. Then the dish is gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce with cream added in at the end. 

Ever Ready decided to give Bolognese a makeover by simplifying the process without compromising the taste. For optimum flavor make the sauce a day ahead or early in the day before serving. Traditionally a Bolognese recipe uses three kinds of meat (equal proportions) pork, ground beef and veal but for this recipe I used only ground beef. For this photo I used two types of pasta.
To cut down the acidity in tomato based sauces I usually add 1/2 tsp. sugar towards the end of cooking time. Do not simmer any tomato sauce more that 1-1/2 hours which can often increase the acidity level. 
Bolognese Sauce with Pasta  
Serves 4
  • 2 TB. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 carrots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB. dried Italian seasoning
  • optional crushed red pepper flakes (start small)
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1- (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  •  3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 3/4 lb. dried pasta such as wide egg noodles or shells, cooked and drained
  • Brown hamburger in 1 TB. of olive oil, crumble, drain and set meat aside.
  • In the same pan heat 1 TB. olive oil , saute onion, celery and carrots until tender about 5 minutes.
  • Add in garlic and spices except bay leaf and cook 1 minute longer. 
  • Stir in wine and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated about 3 minutes.
  • Add in crushed tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, salt and pepper, sugar, bay leaf and cooked meat. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) 45 minutes. Add in cream and mix well. Cook 5-8 minutes longer until sauce is thickened. Remove bay leaf.
  • Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Suggested red wines for dinner: 14 Hands, Marietta Old Vine, Ruta 22, Cline Cashmere

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