Ragù alla bolognese is my absolute favorite thing to make during the fall and winter months. It is customarily served with tagliatelle but today I am using fresh fettucini. Classic Bolognese is made by braising minced meat in wine, beef stock and tomato concentrate resulting in a rich, velvety sauce. This recipe takes time but the process is simple and worth the effort.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1lb ground beef
- 1lb ground veal
- 1/2 lb pancetta chopped fine
- 8 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 11/2 cups dry red wine
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- Roughly chop onion, carrots and garlic before adding to a food processor.
- Puree vegetables until they form a paste
- Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pot. Add butter and saute vegetables until lightly browned removing all the liquid. About 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are browning, mix the beef, veal and pancetta until well combined.
- Add meat mixture to the vegetables and saute until brown. About 15 minutes.
- Add wine and simmer on high for 3-5 minutes scraping up any brown bits. The liquid should reduce by half
- Add tomato paste and stir into the meat.
- Add stock and turn your heat to high bringing the liquid to a simmer.
- Add thyme, reduce your heat to low and gently simmer for about 2 hours
- When your liquid has reduced down and the sauce is almost dry, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring cream and nutmeg to a simmer in a small sauce pan; gradually add to sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes allowing the meat to absorb the cream. The sauce should be thick and coat your pasta nicely. If you think it looks too runny you can let it simmer with the top off until the sauce thickens.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with about 1 cup of sauce to coat. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry. Divide pasta among warm plates. Top with more sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.