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Bolognese Ragù

Resist the urge to rush the meat through browning—it takes 60 to 90 minutes to do this step properly, but your patience will be rewarded with a rich, deeply flavored sauce. Serve with regular or spinach fettucine or tagliatelle.

Yields about 1 quart, enough for about 1 lb. pasta; serves 4 to 6

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 medium carrots, finely chopped

2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 lb. ground beef

½ lb. ground pork

½ lb. ground veal

1 cup dry white wine, such as Soave Classico

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup whole milk

3 Tbs. tomato paste

1½ cups lower-salt beef broth

½ cup heavy cream

3 oz. thinly sliced mortadella, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips ½ cup)

Heat the oil and butter in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat until the butter melts and begins to sizzle. Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and parsley. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and light golden, about 10 minutes. Add the beef, pork, and veal and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the clumps. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot until the meat is deep brown and crumbly but still tender and not dry, 60 to 90 minutes—if the meat is browning too quickly, reduce the heat to low.

Raise the heat to high, stir in the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan until it is almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and season the meat with the nutmeg, ½ tsp. salt, and several grinds of pepper. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring frequently, until most of it is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Dilute the tomato paste in a small bowl with a splash of the broth and pour it into the sauce. Mix well and then add the remaining broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook the sauce at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and fragrant and the vegetables have more or less dissolved, 1 to 1½ hours. Stir in the cream and mortadella and simmer gently until completely heated through, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cooked pasta and grated cheese, if you like.

The ragù can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine October / November 2011

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