Ragù alla Bolognese

12 October 2017

Ragù alla Bolognese with linguine After many years of making “Bolognese” ragù, I finally visited Bologna. My recipe has since changed dramatically.

  • For six to eight servings:
    500g veal mince (or beef, if you can’t find veal)
    500g pork mince
    80g pancetta or bacon, diced
    40g butter
    3 anchovy fillets (optional)
    4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
    1 large onion, or 3-4 shallots, diced
    About 2 small fresh chilis, chopped, or 1-2 tsp chili flakes
    1 large carrot (or 2 small), finely diced
    1.5 sticks of celery, finely diced
    Leaves from about four sprigs of rosemary or thyme, chopped (optional)
    Two 400g tins of whole tomatoes, drained and very roughly chopped
    ⅓ bottle of red wine
    Basil, spaghetti or linguine, parmesan, and olive oil to serve
  • On a medium-high heat and using a small drizzle of oil, brown the meat on one side in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan. I like to use both a large pot, in which I then cook the sauce, and a frying pan to speed up the process.
  • Set the meat to one side. Into the large pot add the pancetta, butter, anchovies, garlic, onion, chili, carrot, celery, and rosemary or thyme. Cook on a medium-low heat for at least 10 minutes, until everything is soft and somewhat caramelised. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water every now and then to prevent excess sticking.
  • Add the meat back in to the pot, plus the tomatoes, wine, about a litre of water, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very low heat and leave to simmer for around three hours (the longer the better).
  • Before serving, blend the sauce to an even consistency, though it need not be particularly smooth. This is best accomplished with an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one pour batches of sauce into an ordinary blender. If necessary, reduce the ragù a little until it is reasonably thick.
  • Cook the pasta until nearly done, then cook for about a minute in a portion of ragù, plus a little pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. At the last minute, stir in fresh basil leaves. Serve topped with plenty of parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil.
  • Leftover sauce can be frozen, or will keep in the fridge for a few days.