CLASSIC pasta tagliatelle al ragu (bolognese sauce)








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Here has to be one of everyone's favorites: the elegant, flavorful Bolognese sauce (ragu), ideal for tagliatelle, but equally wonderful with fettucine, spooned over cheese ravioli, or used as the basis for lasagna.

Musts: ragu is about the meat, not the tomatoes and other ingredients. It must get a long, long simmer. The flavor should be complex, with everything in balance. It is simple to do, but the simmering can not be hurried.

for the sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced carrot
  • 3/4 pound ground meat: 1/4 lb. ground veal; 1/4 lb. ground chuck, 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 28 oz. can imported Italian whole, peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juices
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan, 1/4  to taste

for the pasta:

  • one pound freshly-made tagliatelle egg pasta (or fettucine)

Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for five minutes (do not brown).

Add the chopped meat and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Here is a key action: crumble the meat with the edge of a wooden spoon, working continuously on the "crumble" so there are no clumps whatsoever, just tiny pieces of the meat. The meat should just lose its raw color, about 4 minutes.

Add the wine and cook several minutes, until the wine has lost its alcohol. Add the milk and continue to cook until the milk has evaporated, about10 or so minutes. Only clear fat should remain.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring and breaking up the chunks. Bring the sauce to a simmer -- just barely a simmer. Cook, uncovered about three hours. Adjust for taste.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a raging boil, add two tablespoons of salt, and the pasta. Stir. Cook until al dente. Drain. (a little moisture on the pasta at this point is a plus).

Toss with the sauce; add a tablespoon of butter and the parmesan; stir. Serve!




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