Classic Italian Bolognese sauce (Ragù)

People! I am still stunned by how quickly time is passing by…. I mean, I don’t want to be the Cliche’ Land Queen but seriously! This September has been one of the busiest months I have ever had, I wasn’t that busy since my wedding… well actually not even then. September also marks the beginning of Spring here down under, but weirdly enough this year winter seems never to end. It might be that I have started to get used to the local climate, or the fact I haven’t seen a proper winter in almost 3 years, not really sure.

I take advantage of the long winter to give you one of my favourite recipe, the Bolognese sauce, just because I am Italian and I don’t like stereotypes…. Yes I don’t! Really, I swear! And to demonstrate that, well, as you know every family has his own tradition, and this come directly not from my Gran as you would expected, but from my Dad. My family can really be upside down, in this case my father taught the recipe to my grandma, and the result is a fully flavoured, light and perfectly coloured sauce, suitable for your lasagna but also just with normal pasta o fresh bread. The main ingredient is, well, patience… there is a very specific moment after one hour and a half of cooking, where from bright red the tomato sauce changes to a darker amber orange and the herbs release their scent… fantastic!

  • 500g Organic pork mince
  • 500g Organic beef mince
  • 200g Bacon or Italian sausage, to taste
  • Salt
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery stick
  • 1 brown onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans diced unsalted tomatoes
  • 2/3 Rosemary springs
  • 5/6 Fresh sage leaves
  • 50g butter

First of, let’s prepare Soffritto, base of many Italian, French and Spanish recipes. It prepares and enhance sauces and risotto, and it can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer. How? Well, this is really and easy peasy passage: just roughly chop carrot, celery and onion and chunk the veggies in the food processor, until they are nice and fine.

Heat 2 heaped tablespoon of olive oil in a bit deep pot, add butter and when it is melted, add the veggies. Cook until light golden, then add the diced bacon, sausages or pancetta, depends on what you prefer to use. Once it is lightly roasted, add the pork and the beef, and make sure to seal the meat and cook until lightly brown. Now it is time to add the tomatoes. Don’t worry about the chunks, they will simply melt away. Now reduce the heat and add salt. I usually add just 1 teaspoon and adjust at the end if necessary. Wrap the rosemary and sage in a piece of cheese cloth (or similar) and close with cooking twine. This will allow the flavour and the oils to be released into the sauce without having rosemary leaves all over the place.

And now what? Make sure the heat is low, cover with a lid and let it cook. Have a look at the sauce every 30 minutes, just in case, and give it a nice stir. If after one hour and a half it looks too watery, leave it uncovered for the last 30 minutes, to reduce the sauce. In the meantime, I can assure your entire household will gather around the kitchen looking for bread and “have just a taste, after all we have to make sure it tastes nice”. This is the usual excuse, and I have to keep an eye on the pot if I want to be sure to have enough ragù for dinner…

Tonight the music is Run, by Gnarls Barley if you want to exercise while you wait….. or not! Tanto love everybody, and enjoy the weekend!

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