Bolognese Meat Sauce
(Ragù alla Bolognese)
MAKES ABOUT 5 CUPS
This recipe came from the well known Simili sisters of Bologna. They prepare a delicate brodo di carne, or meat broth, for use in their ragù because the sauce doesn't need a lot of additional flavor. Unless you're making brodo for another use, though, any light broth will do.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 rib celery, trimmed and minced
1/2 medium carrot, peeled, trimmed, and minced
2–3 slices prosciutto di Parma (about 1 oz.), finely chopped
2 chicken livers, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup hot milk
1 cup beef, veal, or chicken broth
1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomato purée
1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft and translucent but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more. Add prosciutto and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until livers are just cooked and still a little pink, about 1 minute. Add ground chuck, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up meat with the back of the spoon, until just cooked and still a little pink, about 5 minutes more. (To keep meat tender, do not fry or brown.)
2. Add wine to pot and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add hot milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat broth and tomato purée together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, then add to meat mixture in pot. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.