CLASSIC pasta simple veal 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. Plus it must be simmered in milk. As we say in ragu: the simmering can not be hurried. (see bolognese sauce).

Here is the one recipe that we believe we have shared with more friends than any other recipe. It is slightly adapted from Marcella Hazan's: Marcella Cucina. This recipe is so good and so incredibly useful, that we know you, like all of our friends will delight in it.

Therefore, if you do make this sauce, and are as pleased as we think you will be, you should be honor-bound to buy the book from which it comes: Marcella Cucina (see library). You will be rewarded with an incredible array of other wonderful pasta recipes, plus a host of other superb recipes and the wisdom and insights of Marcella in the world of classic Italian cuisine.

for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons of butter
  • three tablespoons of olive oil
  • four cloves garlic finely chopped
  • one and one-third cup chopped onion
  • one pound of ground veal
  • two cups imported peeled Italian plum tomatoes, with juice, roughly chopped
  • two teaspoons high quality tomato paste
  • one-half cup beef broth
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one tablespoon chopped parsley
  • one-quarter cup, or more, freshly grated parmesan
  • one tablespoon quality tomato paste (optional but recommended)

Heat two tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a heavy, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it start to sizzle. Add the onion and cook until the onion starts to turn gold, about four minutes.

Add the ground veal 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. Continue to turn it over, until it is brown all over, usually several minutes.

Add the tomatoes. Stir several times. Cook at a steady simmer for fifteen minutes. Taste for salt and pepper (probably needs a touch more salt).

When your pasta is ready, toss your pasta in this sauce, adding the cheese and the tablespoon of butter. Put a cover on the pan, turn up the heat, and steam for one minute. This ensures the pasta comes to the table  steaming hot! Serve with the chopped parsley on top.




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