Ragù (Bolognese Sauce)

9 Nov

The term ragù refers to a rich sauce composed of different ingredients usually including ground beef. The origin of this meat sauce is French -ragout-, and is derived from the verb ragoûter, to awaken the appetite. The Bolognese ragù sauce is the typical beef sauce from Bologna with bacon and vegetables (onion, carrot, celery and garlic).  This mixture’s flavor is enhanced by good red wine and cooked slowly for over an hour. There is a classic recipe filed in 1982 at Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture, but everyone has his own recipe. Different beef cuts can be used and some ground pork meat may be added, too.  Bacon can be replaced with sausage, making the sauce lighter, because sausage contains less fat (and of course fewer calories) than bacon. Some recipes also add a few tablespoons of milk or heavy cream at the end to make the meat more tender. Here is my recipe!

RAGÙ (BOLOGNESE SAUCE)
Preparation time: 1 hr+40min.      Cooking time: 1 ½ hrs       Servings: 4

Ragù

INGREDIENTS
30 g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
80 g (¼ lb) mild sausage
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped or diced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
225 g (½ pound) ground beef chuck
225 g (½ pound) ground pork
120 ml (½ cup) red wine
240 ml (1 cup) beef stock
1 can (about 250 ml) peeled whole tomatoes
5 tablespoons cream
Salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, sauté the butter and the sausage for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the onion, and when it begins to soften add the other vegetables. Sauté over low heat for 8 minutes until golden, stirring constantly
2. Add the ground meat and continue cooking for about 10 minutes
3. Add the wine and increase the heat to high to evaporate the alcohol
4. Add the tomatoes and the stock. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally until thick
5. Remove from heat and add the cream
6. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. The most traditional way to eat ragù is with tagliatelle or lasagne, but you can also enjoy it with any concave shaped pasta that goes well with chunky sauces.  -Paola

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