Years ago we had the opportunity to visit several cities in Italy. I’m sad to say, however, that we didn’t make it to Bologna, which is the city Bolognese Sauce originated in. Here is an explanation of the sauce (just incase you aren’t familiar with it) as written by Wikipedia:
Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. InItalian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress “tagliatelle al ragù” and to prepare “lasagne alla bolognese”. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, or with short tube shapes, such as rigatoni or penne. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves slow cooking using a variety of techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped meat (generally bovine, including beef, and possibly pork, such as pancetta), wine, and a small amount of tomato concentrate.
The earliest documented recipe of an Italian meat-based sauce (ragù) served with pasta comes from late 18th centuryImola, near Bologna. In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi first published a recipe for a meat sauce characterized as being “bolognese”. While many traditional variations do exist, in 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine registered a recipe for authentic ragù alla bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. In Italy, ragù alla bolognese is often referred to simply as ragù.
Outside Italy, Bolognese sauce often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which mince (beef or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear little resemblance to ragù alla bolognese. Whereas in Italy ragù is not used with spaghetti, so-called spaghetti bolognese has become a popular dish in many other parts of the world.
I have to say, this is one of the easiest sauces I’ve ever made, just takes a little patience to complete the simmering process, but all good things take time.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a little business traveling in New York City and made several shops in grocery stores, my favorite was one in Little Italy. What always amazes me about shopping in these stores is the variety of fresh meats, salami, hanging from the ceiling, as well as many types of sausage. I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m there. The other food items that I am always intrigued with are all the different types of pastas, the good stuff, not store name brands, but the really good Italian pastas. I purchased several varieties to bring back home, one of which was the Pappardelle.There is only one sauce to serve with this pasta, and of course, that would be the Bolognese.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
2/3 cup white wine (dry)
1 cup milk
16 ounces good quality (Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add butter and oil. Cook until frothy, add chopped vegetables and garlic. Cook over medium low heat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add meat and in batches, stirring after each addition and breaking up the meat clumps.
Deglaze pan with wine, simmer until reduced by half. Add milk and once again simmer until reduced by half. Add remaining ingredients, cook over medium low heat for 2-3 hours or until sauce becomes thick. Serve with good quality pasta. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano or, my personal favorite, Pecorino Romano.
Nothing like a little Italian Bread to go along with this meal, I was able to find a good loaf of bread at Fresh Market “Turano Panini Bread”.
Brush both sides of the bread with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place on hot grill, cook until slightly golden, turn over and continuing cooking until brown.
Place shredded mozzarella over bread slices, top with sliced plum tomatoes, salt & pepper. Place under broiler until cheese is golden brown. Top with freshly diced basil.