TAGLIATELLE AL RAGU ALLA BOLOGNESE (with beef, for four)
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
¾ pound ground lean beef, preferably chuck
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
1 pound fresh tagliatelle or dried egg fettucine
- An earthenware pot should be your first choice for making ragu. If you don’t have one available, use a heavy, enameled cast-iron casserole, the deepest one you have (to keep the ragu from reducing too quickly). Put the oil, butter and chopped onion into the pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring the vegetables to coat them well.
- Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt and pepper to taste, crumbling the meat until it has lost its raw, red color (it must not brown or it will lose its delicacy). Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated. Turn the heat down to medium, add the milk and the nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir frequently.
- When the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer, just an occasional bubble. Cook, uncovered, for a minimum of 3-1/2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and correct for salt.
- If you cannot watch the sauce for such a long stretch, you can turn off the heat and resume cooking it later on. But do finish cooking it in one day. Once completed, ragu can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen. Reheat until it simmers about 15 minutes before serving over tagliatelle with Parmesan on the side.
NOTE: The ragu freezes well. If you double this recipe you will have enough ragu to also make Lasagne alla Bolognese (it takes about 3 cups).
from Marcella Hazan, Classic Italian Cooking