Proper Ragù alla Bolognese
9 June 2011 by jonoandjules
Italians don’t serve Bolognese with spaghetti or make a really runny tomato sauce like us Irish, so we went to our Italian experts for guidance: Giorgio Locatteli came up trumps. Jono also got to practice his new pasta trick which he’s somewhat obsessed with.
Ragù alla bolognese – serves 8 generously (but don’t divide the recipe, just make the lot and freeze it in small tubs -ready meals!)
- 2 kg of minced beef neck (you may need to order this – chump will do if you can’t get it)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- a large sprig of rosemary and one of sage, tied together
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a bottle of red wine
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 litre of tomato passata
Take the meat out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, spread it out on a tray. This will make it sear rather than boil when you put it in the pan.
Heat the oil in a wide bottomed saucepan and add vegetables, herbs and whole garlic cloves and sweat over a high heat for 5-8 minutes without colouring – you need to keep stirring.
Season the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the vegetables making sure it covers the base of the saucepan. Don’t touch it for 5-6 minutes so it seals underneath and heats through. Careful your vegetables don’t burn – you can add a bit more oil if you need to.
Stir the meat and veg every few minutes for about 10-12 minutes until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the wine and let it reduce to almost nothing. Add the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes – keep stirring.
Add the passata with one litre of water, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half. Add a bit of water now and again if necessary, until you have a thick sauce. (You could also cook it in the oven at 120C if you prefer).
When you’re ready to serve, heat the ragù, cook your pasta (preferably pappardelle, tagliatelle, or short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the pasta to the ragu and toss well – add some cooking water if you need to loosen the sauce a bit.
Serve with freshly grated pecorino.
(Original recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s ‘Made in Italy: Food & Stories’)