Bolognese ragu may be the most famous Italian sauce in the world, along with pesto. Outside Italy spaghetti with bolognese sauce is usually thought of as a spaghetti sauce, but this goes against tradition. It is usually used with special kinds of pasta like tagliatelle and lasagne. Its origins are very ancient, going back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and linked to the great mixture of cultures (and cuisines) in Bologna over the centuries, thanks to its University, the oldest in the world. The recipe agreed upon as authentic was registered by the Italian Academy of Cuisine in 1982, following 38 years of research and debate. Minced meat used in this tasty recipe is a special cut of beef, called cartella (skirt), the muscle that separates the lungs and stomach of the animal. Unlike what you may think, ragout (or Bolognese sauce) contains very little tomato, in a concentrated form; the basic vegetables are onions, carrots and celery, chopped up together and “soffritti”, lightly fried in oil. The use of soffritto is common in Italian cuisine, from north to south, differing only in the type of fat used. In the north, it’s butter, in the south, olive oil. In Bolognese ragu, both are used, with excellent results!
- 400 g of Spaghetti Pasta
- 300 g Beef cartella (thin beef skirt)
- 150 g Pancetta (bacon)
- 150 g of lightly fried: carrot, celery stalk, onion
- 5 tablespoons of Tomato paste
- 1 cup of whole milk
- A half cup of red wine
- 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 250 g of Meat Broth
- Salt and pepper
In a deep saucepan, heat oil and add finely chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Fry them until golden.
Meanwhile, chop the pancetta, add it to the minced beef and pour it all in the pan. Lightly fry the meat until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the red wine and allow it to evaporate, then dissolve the tomato paste in a bit of broth and add it to the meat. Add salt and leave the sauce to simmer for 1 hour over a low flame, adding broth to keep it from becoming too thick.
At the end, add milk, salt, and pepper.
Meanwhile, boil hot salted water and then add Spaghetti. When pasta is ready to mix it with the sauce and then serve it!