CLASSIC pasta simple ragu (bolognese sauce)








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Tradition, and years of experience, has told us that a bolognese sauce must be cooked for a long time -- three hours -- in order to get the full, complex meat flavors alive and in balance. As we say in ragu: the simmering can not be hurried. (see bolognese sauce).

However, there is another school of thought, and practice, that says a ragu is so terrific, and is wonderful with so many pasta shapes and styles, that there should be a short form of bolognese that works almost as well.

Here is such a short form ragu. Try it and judge for yourself.

for the sauce:

  • one quarter cup olive oil
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • three tablespoons finely diced onion
  • two tablespoons finely diced celery
  • two tablespoons finely diced carrot
  • one pound ground beef
  • one cup white wine
  • 28 oz. can imported Italian whole, peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juices
  • one quarter cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • one tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper

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

Increase the heat to medium high and add the chopped meat and 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of fresh pepper. 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 5 minutes.

Add the wine and cook several minutes, until the wine has lost its alcohol.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the parsley and the basil, stirring and breaking up the chunks. Cook over a heat higher than a simmer for about thirty minutes. The sauce should be fairly thick. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust.

Ready for combining with your favorite pasta.



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